Floating Garden: Vezzini & Chen Image by Davina Jelley

Summer is truly here, the month of June has fulfilled her promise and guests at the private view for A Landscape of Objects were able to amble as they viewed the artworks set within the landscape of Forde Abbey.

Continuing on from the success of last year’s Herbarium installations at Lytes Cary, SAW invited the director of London’s Flow gallery, Yvonna Demczynska, to curate once more. The gardens at Forde Abbey are defined by water, with several large ponds and the highest powered fountain in England, so it seemed only natural that the selected artists were asked by Yvonna to respond to this powerful element.

Vezzini & Chen’s porcelain and glass pieces float gently on the surface of the Long Pond, refracting the light and illustrating the textures found in the surrounding flora. During their initial site visit they encountered a sense of harmony between the gardens and ponds, that in turn created calm and peacefulness, ‘We could have sat for hours looking at the gardens reflecting on the water.’ Their ‘Floating Garden’ magnifies this concept of calm and demonstrates their acute spatial awareness as the thoughtful placement of the spheres balance beautifully within the landscape.

Watching the guests interact with Eleanor Lakelin’s turned wood vessels was quite revealing, I don’t think anyone could resist the temptation to stroke the velvety blackness, the more adventurous to peek inside or breath in their scent. On closer inspection, the texture of her taller piece reminded me of wind playing across water.

Annemarie O’Sullivan and Tom McWalter’s ‘Fish Traps’ sit hopeful above the water, reflecting their willow curves and strong lines on the surface of the Abbey’s fish pond. Woven from Somerset willow they remind visitors of the monks that once lived here, Anne and Tom delight in this reference to hidden history, ‘We know the vegetarian monks took their meals on the ground floor and the meat eating monks took theirs on the first floor. Where did the pescatarian monks eat theirs?’

Forde Abbey is a stunning property to visit and the installations will be in situ until the 30th October. If you do visit I also urge you to explore just beyond Annemarie and Tom’s ‘Fish Traps’ to discover the secret of the beech lodge – it will envelope you in quietness.




WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY by Davina Jelley




Published on June 20, 2017 // Davina Jelley