The Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art located in Fort Tryon Park overlooking the Hudson River in New York City. It is comprised of parts of several medieval monasteries imported from Europe in the early 20th century and represents the essence of ecclesiastical architecture without being a reproduction of any single structure. This composite of architectural elements results in a unique location that evokes the contemplative spirit across time, past and present. These conjoined spaces also feature enclosed gardens (hortus conclusus) that reflect the monastic ideal of a place of retreat and meditation. The four courtyard gardens were planted with ornamental and useful plants and herbs, their symbolism represented in the various medieval tapestries housed in the Museum. The four points of the compass are represented by the corners of the garden spaces, each of which contains a central fountain element surrounded by arcades of columns and capitals. The Trie Garden houses a collection of plants and flowers designed to bloom in different seasons and to attract birds and butterflies, inviting serenity and contemplation.
I started the Trie Garden project in the 1980's. I have continued until the present, a project spanning thirty-six years and counting. The works are divided into four decades. Each decade will be represented by a painting consisting of 105 panels combined to measure 7' x 15'. Each painting records ten years of visual changes at the in a singular composite image. The first step was to photograph the Garden from the same four vantage points over time, impacted by the changing seasons , light conditions and my mindset. The composite collage (below) was assembled from multiple photo fragments and compressed into a multi-layered photo mosaic.
The Trie Garden Project: St. Monica Round, video simulation
Using an architectural model of a room in St. Monica's Catholic Church, I began to visualize the paintings as four free-standing curved panels. This room was designed by architect Frank Gehry for the Church, and my model was constructed by architect Eugene Aubry, who is responsible for the completion of the Rothko Chapel in Houston. The artwork shown here is only an approximation of paintings that will be designed to fit the space and tell a story. They are based on The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.