Verdant Geometry
SCAPE Public Art
October - November 2018
Cuningham House, Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Wellington-based artist Erica van Zon has made a suite of new sculptures in metal, glass and mirror responding to the neo-classical conservatory Cuningham House in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, which opened to the public as the Winter Garden in 1924.

Van Zon has focused on architectural qualities of the space, particularly doorways and windows that have been adapted and re-fashioned, often using more contemporary materials than the original build, and iconography from the railings. She has combined these with stylistic reference points from 1980s interior architecture and design manuals, to consider how architectural tropes and styles are morphed and adapted over time. Decorative glass used in domestic and lead light windows feature strongly in the works, referencing ongoing traditions of embellishing architecture with ornament.

The lush botanical plants housed within this ornate, yet very ordered environment, include 80-year-old specimens collected by the Botanic Gardens curator of the time James Young, while on a dedicated plant sourcing trip to Australia. The current plant collection includes orchids, breadfruit, guava, paw paw, date and sago palms, and bananas.

Curated by Heather Galbraith
All works constructed by Signtech