DAPHNE

3000 beeswax  4” square high relief tiles and 3D objects, Pavilion Gallery, Ganna Walska Lotusland , Santa Barbara, California, 2013 (36ftw x10fth)

Daphne my most recent beeswax architecture was commissioned by Lotusland a botanical garden in Southern California. As an Artist in Residence I created a beeswax architecture inspired by the gardens. The 37 acre estate -cacti gardens, reflecting pools, lotus ponds and more were the vision of Ganna Walska, the Polish Opera Singer and socialite who purchased this property in the 1940’s.  She was eccentric and tenacious and had a horticultural flare. Each garden was a collection and excess, repetition and accumulation was her driving aesthetic. Why have 1 ponytail palm when you could have 100?

Excess…repetition and accumulation became the key words in the creation of what I began to think of as a Baroque Dream Space. Unlike my previous work that was in part about an ordered pattern and controlled tessellation, this was about abundance and threshold. The excess and repetition created an infinite accumulation and a site for transformative and transgressive organic patterns. Ganna Walska had planted rows of palms and euphorbia’s and carpets of succulents and incorporated strange objects into her vision of the garden and I wanted to repeat this spirit on the walls.  I translated tiles from the garden into 3D high relief tiles of beeswax. I cast a collection of objects that I had found on the estate; pineapples, candelabras and doorknobs that I then mounted onto the tiles so that they extruded into the space; I made succulents in 5 sizes to carpet one wall and then hundreds of lotus pods to create an entry.

Daphne became a space of sensory intensification and in some respects an architectural poem.

Selected Essays – Chasing Daphne