The 2004 DeCordova Annual Exhibition Catalog, June, 2004

"Beth Galston: Luminous Garden #2 (Night Meadow)"

Catalog Essay
by George Fifield

In fairy tales, we often encounter the enchanted garden. A very early example is the Garden of Eden, and two more recent versions include the poppy field in The Wizard of Oz and the giant's garden in Oscar Wilde's sad Christian fable, The Selfish Giant. By virtue of its cultivation, the garden represents a safe natural haven and in this way differs from its ancestor, the wilderness. This safety may be deceptive like the poppies Dorothy encounters, but this only reveals that enchanted gardens transform all who experience them. Beth Galston's Luminous Garden #2 (Night Meadow) is clearly enchanted. The flowers glow, attracting us with light rather than smell. They thrive in an underworld as the only points of illumination and beauty. We feel that we will be transformed by this dark grace, even if we know not how.


Artist Statement
by Beth Galston

One of the earliest art experiences I remember (although I didn't identify it as art at the time) was a visit with my father, a biologist, at his laboratory. I was probably eight years old. To keep me occupied, he set up a series of glass flasks with colored chemicals in them. I spent the day mixing colors by pouring the liquids from one flask to the next, and viewing the changing luminous colors through the transparent glass containers. I vividly remember the magic of this moment and how fascinated I was to be immersed in a world of light, color, transparency and motion. In each of my installations I try to capture this sense of magic and enchantment; to create a place that invites viewers in and leads them on a journey, delighting the senses and provoking the imagination.

Photographs in Wild Apples Magazine, Spring/Summer, 2011