The Meadow Gallery is proud to announce its next summer exhibition will take place at Hanbury Hall, the beautiful 18th century National Trust property in Worcestershire. The show, consisting of new commissions and recent works by 3 leading contemporary artists, will unfold around the magnificently restored gardens. Recreated through painstaking research by the National Trust’s historical gardens team, they refer back to a golden era in British gardens, the formal gardens of the early 18th century. With their intricate design and jewel-like configuration the gardens of Hanbury Hall are imbued with a sense of perfection and spectacle, albeit on a small, almost intimate scale. They form an enduring prototype of civilisation and well-being which remains strangely intact.
Such perfection however comes at a price. Then as now the magnificent vistas, the immaculate lawns, the vibrant flowers and the perfect fruits all require an extremely labour intensive structure. Surrounding this perfectly composed picture of the gardens, is a belt of marginal, functional spaces such as orchards, walled gardens, greenhouses and tunnels where the work needed to maintain such excellence actually takes place.
This has inspired the selected artists to produce new work that explores the reality behind the image and the complex cultural systems which inform this enduring archetype. What happens to our psyche when molehills threaten a perfect lawn? Why is a fruit tree in bloom so reassuring? What happens when the majestic swans die? Nature is not dead (nature-morte, still-life in French) but our urge to still it and impose our order onto it is as strong as it ever was.
The magnificent 1740’s Orangery will be the starting point of the exhibition. There, each artist will be showing existing pieces that will echo the outdoor ones. Starting just outside the Orangery the exhibition route will carry visitors through groves and old orchards, along a walled garden, down through a tunnel and past a sleepy pond. The visit will form a loose narrative, which will be carefully interpreted. The exhibition is curated by Anne de Charmant.
Jane Prophet will produce one large new sculpture/installation in the old pear orchard. Daphne Wright will produce 3 distinct but related new works in the tunnel, by the willow pool and along the walled garden long wall.