Ellen Wiener - Forest / Garden

The landscape work represented here has been stylistically influenced by Northern engravings, Dutch painting from the Golden Age and Science Fiction. Seemingly disparate, these genres are connected by their paradoxes. Related narrative threads exist in the contrasts between wild and civil, home and outland, and in the boundaries that ask the difference between what is ours and what is theirs.

Burning Stump and Longhand Forest are experienced as left to right text- unscrolling fables. Visual crux points occur where symbolic elements of nature and culture meet and coexist. The explicit litter and human wreckage in the introductory panels of Margin & Scree ultimately coalesce into a book-mountain—an idea stack that becomes landscape – i.e.  what we think about it eventually becomes it.

Garden History is a picture-timeline of twelve sequential garden sketches that mark philosophical positions in intellectual history. Socrates’ out-door classroom and the clearing for the oracle at Delphi are in the top line of the series. Gardens, distinguishably different from agriculture, exemplify both power over chaos and a simultaneous co-dependence on uncontrollable forces larger than ourselves. As spaces apart they can mark both labor and the meditative fruits of labor.

The shovel, a prevalent image, is a key for digging deeper and looking more closely at the components that multiply into landscape on a larger scale.  The plant drawings were done with a dissecting scope at The New York Botanical Gardens. The fossil and mineral studies, specifically featuring visible time-based layers, are another means to the same end – finding ways for our small scale tales to fit, fundamentally, into an understanding of the telluric whole.