By Jenn Watt
Gardens can be larger than life; a manipulated living space that can surround or overpower you, Susan Rankin’s artist statement says. The glass artist from Apsley is an avid gardener and uses the physical environment of blooms and shoots to explore deeper concepts related to memory, time and perception.
Rankin’s work, which has shown at more than 30 solo exhibitions across North America, is on display at the Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre in Haliburton until Sept. 5. Shadow Garden includes 18 works of glass and metal, lit to illuminate the colourful glass flowers and to cast intricate shadows along the gallery’s walls.
“It’s a play. What I’ve done, the play is [people] think of glass as transparent and allows light through and they think of steel as being very dense and solid. And so it’s the juxtaposition where it’s the metal that’s actually the translucent/transparent, creating the shadow and the shadow of the glass is solid and strong and thick, which is what you would expect from the metal,” Rankin said.
As the sun passes through the garden, marking the passage of time, the shadows move and change.
So too do the shadows in Rankin’s works, depending on where they are installed.
In some cases, the shadows cast are so intricate that the artist likens them to a drawing of the sculpture itself.
“… I’ve been trying to play with memory, shadow and light in the garden and time, really,” she said.
Rankin has been a glass artist for three decades – and has taught at Haliburton School of Art + Design for 16 years. She teaches part of the glassblowing certificate program.
In her artist statement, she said in the summer she spends the mornings in her garden, and in the winter, she creates an imaginary garden, “expressing the joy of flowers in by blown glass objects.”
Her exhibition is on display at the Rails End Gallery, 2 York St. in Haliburton, until Saturday, Sept. 5.
The gallery is open Friday and Saturday from noon to 3:45 p.m. and by appointment to gallery members and guests on Thursdays.