Monuments périssables

April 26 to May 26, 2007

Text by Lizz Dunlop

Referencing a heritage of gardened landscapes, ancient Roman structures, and a variety of other engineered environments, Judith Berry’s Perishable Monuments are compositions of a temporal, ambiguous nature. The combination of organic compounds and architecture has a long history – with rooftop gardens, and multiple manifestations of garden cities – here, however Berry has incorporated notions of the perishable, and biodegradable as an unspoken potential threat to her structures. The unknown purpose of the displayed structures heightens uncertainty. Construction could be complete or still in progress, and disintegration has yet to run its course. These crafted landscapes are caught in a static, intermediary moment. Viewers’ attention is free to wander between the seemingly infinite building blocks, and the forms they make-up.

In Seasonal Change , the unknown purpose of the tunnel is made even more alien by the soft, plush texture of the flooring. Indeed the textural element is strong throughout the works and one cannot help but be aware of how this sensual aspect adds to the pieces. Of the many unanswered questions raised by these images, the foremost would be who created them? What purpose do they serve? And, if they do serve a purpose, how long will they be able to do so? These structures present a simplified, more immediate version of the world in which we live. Initially playful in their ironic choice of building matter, one may begin to see environmental concerns in pieces such as The Unravelling Hills , where the hills indicated by the title can also be read to look like the aftermath of clear-cutting. The reddened stump/hills, with unravelling spirals (not concentric rings) against an earth toned ground where there is very little growth and water sits on the surface. These are light, fantastic images that can just as quickly turn into images which comment upon our own temporality.