In the artist's own words:
"If an artist can pain a picture of a landscape - art mimicking
nature, then why not a sculptor creating a landscape
of a work of art - nature mimicking art?"
-James T. Mason
And really, is there a better piece to render in landscape than Seurat's famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatee? After all, the evergreen bush is a profoundly pointalist medium. Stand up close, and it's just fragments of green and lines. Stand far enough away, it can be anything you want.
This living art exhibit rests at the heart of Columbus' Old Deaf School Park, once the site of the Ohio School for the Deaf, established in 1829. The school eventually changes locations, but the buildings remained. Before the city was able to officially claim the location as a historic district in 1981, a fire swept through the park, destroying most of the school buildings and scarring the ground. A year later, it finally achieved it's historic recognition, even though the reason for the award was now lost to time.
But why the topiary? Ask Mr. Mason's wife. In the late 1980s, Elaine Mason asked her sculptor husband if he would create a topiary garden for their back yard. But Mason's vision was too big to be contained by their back yard alone. Now it's one of Columbus' most iconic locations.
Planted in just 1989, the landscape is a touch under grown. Wire umbrellas and top hats peek out from the tops of the tallest structures, the evergreen branches having not quiet reached those heights. I should come back in a few years - I wonder how this park will look when all of it's people are fully grown.
I've never thought about topiary maintenance before. How often does someone have to come out here and trim back the bushes? Do they have a little boat for the water? Or do they pull on the galoshes and try to keep the duck poo out of their socks?
The park is open from dawn to dusk every day. When I come back (if I come back), I ought to come in the evening, if just to see the sun set on La Grand Jatee.