12 Jun 2017

A Gathering of Pollinating Artists

Bruce Langridge

I’ve just spent the day in the company of artists involved in our upcoming summer exhibition, Cross-Pollination.

What an interesting bunch they are. Each one of the ten artists I met had their own creative ideas on how they are going to convey their responses to the virtues, aesthetics and qualities of pollinators, be they bees, butterflies, hoverflies or any other type of insect pollinator. I also got to meet Andrew Lucas, a fascinating hoverfly expert who, like our own science team, have been working with the artists.

But where to site everything? Our Oriel Yr Ardd Gallery, tucked away in the corner of the Stable Block, is the most obvious place to show much of the artists’ work – expect to see photography, painting, glasswork, film and sound here. But other artworks are too big for this space, or just need to be sited elsewhere.

So we went for a walk around the Garden to see where else to site their work. Would photography fit on the walls of the Double Walled Garden? Would wax petals float on the Dipping Pool? Plas Pilipala is the obvious place to show butterfly inspired glasswork and wall hangings but how will they do in the hot, humid atmosphere?

The inner dome of the Ice House might be good for a temporary sound piece, the Performance Stage offers wooden beams to hang things from and the Great Glasshouse could be a perfect place for a large manuscript about bees and a buzzing machine (!!) but will its spaces be available during a packed programme of summer events? That’s something I’ve got to find out, and soon too.

The exhibition opens on 8th July and runs until 29th August.

We’ve also got to work out which special needs group will be creating hay meadow sound works with Sarah Tombs in July and when and where could suit Catrin Webster’s week long artist-in-residency? I don’t know how Karen Ingram got on with filming hay meadow cutting with our lawnmower man Peter but, judging by past work by Karen here in the Garden, I expect it will be thought provoking.

Cross-Pollination organiser Professor Andrea Liggins will tell me off if I don’t mention the funders and supporters for this really exciting exhibition. It’s taken a lot of time and co-ordination and it’s too complicated to explain in one sentence so I encourage you to have a look at this wonderful Cross Pollination website that will tell you the what, why and who.