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The Conjured Garden

Wendy Kwan
2016 - 2018


A little of this and a little of that. Struggling shoots not happy here, may find a better life over there. Sometimes you succeed. Sometimes, you don't.

For 30 years this has been my approach to my garden. It's much less about meticulous precision, and much more about shaping and mildly taming the wild and rambunctious nature of things.
I often considered my garden as a potential photographic subject.

But how?

Occasionally I followed a photographic whim, but nothing compelling emerged. Photographic realism was soundly rejected.  My garden and I continued our evolutionary path without visual interpretation. Until Spring 2016.

Ah Ha!!

I started to experiment with Lumen Printing, a contact printing process where materials are placed directly onto silver gelatin fibre paper and baked under glass in direct sun for hours at a time. Fresh organics in particular have a special relationship with this process as their juicy chemistry reacts and responds to intense heat and light.

The process is direct and visceral. The flower, bud, leaf or stem surrenders life to create a mark. The greatest challenge in lumen printing is to understand the qualities of the materials and their interaction with light, heat, glass, and silver gelatin paper. A trip to the garden store no longer revolves around a specific species or colour of plant material. Now it's all about unusual or interesting shapes, patterns, thicknesses.

Different printing papers yield wildly different colours depending upon their precise physical and chemical qualities. I embrace the serendipitous factors and play further.  Photorealism is fully rejected. Dissections, pressings, and materials manipulation are common practise. The final print is a make believe plant composite, purposely mismatched for whimsy, fantasy or pure design.
It's not the garden you may think it is.

A little of this, a little of that.