In digital technology, a walled garden represents a self-contained environment that limits existence or possibility outside of its defined boundaries. This secluded space prevents interaction between what is inside and outside. I think about my upbringing in Miami, Florida as within and around walled gardens; a city of isolated homes and neighborhoods divided by blocks of pavement, lined with privacy bushes, concrete walls, and wooden fences. Beauty, security, and abundance remain secluded and divided, resulting in public spaces characterized by bare pavement, litter, and shadows cast by a hot sun. Fences, walls, and rows of trees provide grids and a structure of comfort, security, and abundance, but also isolate and deplete the spaces they exist in. The outer limits of farms and industry push the original landscape further into the margins.
In this exhibition, I gather new and existing works that illustrate the precarious symbol of the walled garden. Kinetic paper fences call attention to the uncertain boundaries of built and grown barriers. Dimensional paintings and cut paper find a shadowy hollowness through their steady monoculture repetition. Almost imperceptible, a background figure stands in the margins. In the context of a changing climate, this body of work calls into question the visual structures of the walled garden, the spaces it surrounds, and the security it may fail to deliver.
Walled Gardens was on display at Roberta's Art Gallery (University of Wisconsin–Whitewater), March 23–April 25, 2023.