We are transfixed by artist Claire Jorgenson’s ethereal piece ‘The Hedge’, which was part of her MFA exhibition ‘The Irrigated Garden’ for the Michealis School of Fine Art. Claire has taken indigenous fynbos plants, potted them and placed them inside perspex light boxes. As the plants grow, their leaves touch up against the perspex’s milky matte surface. The installation becomes a living painting as the shadows fall and the plant grows.
Claire was inspired by Jan van Riebeeck’s almond hedges, which were planted in 1660 as a border for the Cape Colony and are still very much alive and growing at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
The piece forces the owner to interact with it because the plants need to be taken care of. “While the installation suggests a wall of plants that appear flat, painterly and seductively fantastical, there is definitely a living thing contained within it,” says Claire. “The potted plants cannot survive without being taken outside, fed and watered under the sun.”
Claire, who is currently a permanent resident at Greatmore Art Studios, completed her MFA this year and has participated in a number of group exhibitions. A painter by training – some of her other work consists of unusual ink and watercolour paintings – Claire’s latest work ventures into territory, challenging the definition of painting itself. She’s definitely an artist to watch.