A garden is a strange place. Transitional. Eschewing wildness, and yet, subject to temporal rhythms beyond our own. It is a place of pause, of hazy, indistinct hours that elicit reflection and recollection from the turbulence of time. The latter we often imagine to be rushing away, ever scarce and inadequate. But in the garden, it ebbs and flows in slower cadence, lilting and receding; a steady stream punctuated by bursts of bloom.
If Nicole Tee similarly punctuates her works with the form and color of flora, she does so with one eye towards their fleetingness, towards their brief flourishing and unescapable withering. But notions of ephemerality often turn our thoughts towards the eternal. What endures in change? What persists through life’s seasons?
And in view of eternity, why tend to a garden?
Here is a constructed garden of thread, fabric, and paint. It is one rooted to a situated interiority, anchored to an inner, spiritual life. Tee’s visual language has often made use of objects and processes of domesticity— embroidered flowers on curtain, floral-patterned patches—even as she signals here towards landscapes. In this garden, cloth transforms into pleats of mountains under the heavens, or into grids of fields. Patterns of thread mimic constellations in the sky.
Like most gardens it gestures towards an external world, even as it hopes to provide solace and refuge from this same world.
In this offering, may the viewer find that which stands unchanging against the tides.