HORTOPHILIA*

BOB CHAPLIN

TDP Gallery  |  November 12 – December 19, 2021

 

 

*the desire to interact with, manage, and tend nature

  • Artist Statement
  • Brief Resume

I utilize the history, anthropology, geology, geography and biology of a region. Past works used the mechanics of tourism and travel, such as postcards, jigsaw puzzles, industrial archaeology and the concept of the snapshot, the field trip, and the walk. These investigations resulted in mixed media collages, photographic and video documentation, limited edition prints and books, and performance works.

For my working drawings I combine and juxtapose the ‘reality’ of photographs and empirical research, with the abstract geometry of diagrams and maps. My recent works are installations using the garden as a symbol and a device to control nature. They explore the tension between natural and man-made intervention using the framework and history of gardening. They question what determines ‘natural’ and ‘contrived’ and how that dictates our perception of landscape. What does indigenous, introduced, or invasive mean?

I presently maintain four garden installation sites. All are in Connecticut.

I-Park Foundation - an artist-in-residence facility in East Haddam. 

Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington. (includes a collaboration with students from Miss Porter’s School.)

A 4.5-acre residential site on Avon Mountain.

Five Points Center for the Arts in Torrington, Connecticut.

 

The three installations at I-Park investigate invasive species and how they have altered the landscape; and examine the medieval concept of the ‘Hortus Conclusus,” the enclosed, protected garden. The Forbidden Garden uses the ‘beauty’ of a rose in conjunction with the ‘beast’ of poison ivy.

“Deer Topiary” on Avon Mountain uses the browsing habits of deer to create a landscape feature.

The installations at Hill-Stead Museum and Five Points Center of the Arts are slowly evolving and long-term performances. While the designs of each reflect the tradition of the formal garden, there is a twist. The pathways are mowed and manicured, but in the parterre sections where exotic plants or culinary herbs would normally be planted, naturally occurring grasses, shrubs and trees are encouraged to grow. While ‘A Natural Parterre “at Hill-Stead is in the meadow, “Woodland-Meadow Parterre” at Five Points Center for the Arts in Torrington is situated in both the meadow and adjacent woodland. 

Landscapes are not static, and the migration of indigenous and invasive species and changes that occur over the seasons will be observed as an integral part of the artwork. The observation and documentation of the seasonal and annual changes over time are fundamental to the experience of the installation. It is a requisite that the public and students contribute to the project and their involvement and interaction are an integral part of the process. The book “Weeding,” uses sites in Mexico, Holland, the Canary Isles, New York State and Connecticut. It looks at the act/performance of removing undesirable or troublesome plants growing in the wrong location. 

Bob Chaplin investigates contemporary perceptions of landscape. 

He moved to New York from England in 1986, and then to Connecticut in 1989.

He has taught at U.C.O.N.N. at Storrs, and Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, where he co-curated "The Edge of Town" at the Joseloff Gallery in 1995. He has lectured at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven and was an Artist in Residence at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, and Weir Farm in Wilton. In 1993 he was awarded a Connecticut Commission of the Arts Bursary, and in 2020 he was awarded a CT Arts Fellowship. He was an artist in residence at I-Park, East Haddam in 2012 and 2014 where he created on-going garden art installations. 

The garden installation ‘A Natural Parterre’ was commissioned for Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT in 2018. In 2021 with help from a grant from CT Arts, “Woodland-Meadow Parterre” was created at Five Points Center for the Arts in Torrington, CT. His former property in Avon, Connecticut has several permanent and transitory installations.

He has had solo shows worldwide including exhibitions at The Queens’ Museum, N.Y.; 55 Mercer, N.Y.; Jon Oulman Gallery, Minneapolis; Riverside Studios, London; Arnolfini Gallery, England; Galerie Fenna De Vries Rotterdam, Holland and The Henie Onstad Arts Center in Norway. 

Group shows include The Art Institute Of Chicago; The Tate Gallery, London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Real Art Ways, Hartford; Art Space, New Haven; Atrium Gallery, University Of Connecticut; The Hudson River Museum, N.Y.; The Museum Of Modern Art, Oxford, England; “Photokina”, Cologne, Germany, and the Milan Triennale in Italy.

 

Works in Collections include:

Tate Gallery, London

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

The National Gallery Library, Washington, D.C.

New York Public Library

Museum of Modern Art Library, New York

Whitney Museum of American Art Library, New York

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The British Council

British Museum, LONDON

Arts Council of Great Britain,

Stedlijk Museum, AMSTERDAM,

Getty Research Institute Library, California

New York University 

Library of Congress, Washington

National Museum, Warsaw, Poland National Museum of Wales, CARDIFF, WALES,

Rogaland Kunstmuseum, STAVANGER, NORWAY,

Stavanger Faste Galleri Permanent Collection, STAVANGER, NORWAY

Nordnorske Kunstnersenter, LOFOTEN, NORWAY

Museum of Contemporary Graphic Art, FREDRIKSTAD, NORWAY

Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, Yugoslavia

Whitworth Museum, MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Graves Art Gallery, SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND

Leeds Art Gallery, ENGLAND

Southampton Art Gallery, ENGLAND

City Arts Centre, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

Glasgow City Art Gallery, SCOTLAND

Harvard University, Cambridge, Houghton Library

New York University, NEW YORK

Fine Arts Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Columbia University, New York

University of Pennsylvania, Van Pelt Library.

University of Connecticut, Babbidge Library

University of San Francisco, California, Richard A. Gleeson Library.

University of California, Rare Books Collection

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Trinity College, Hartford

Brown University Special Collection Library, Rhode Island

Dartmouth College Library Special Collection, New Hampshire

Vassar College Special Collections Library, New York

Smith College Art Library, Massachusetts 

Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut

Xerox Corporation

Polaroid Corporation

Coca Cola Collection

Arthur Anderson Corporation

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