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Broadleaved plants and mature trees support, frame and enhance a changing collection of contemporary sculpture, in the garden that art curator Hannah Peschar and her award-winning landscape designer husband Anthony Paul, created some 30 plus years ago. Heralded as the first of it's kind in the UK, the Sculpture Garden now hosts over 100 pieces by 40 plus artists from Britain and the rest of Europe, every summer season.
Hannah and Anthony discovered this place in the Surrey countryside back in the 1970s; they immediately saw its potential. The gardens had been originally landscaped in the 1920s, but had fallen into disrepair with fallen trees, waist-high nettles and a stream that burst it's banks every winter. Anthony and Hannah began the enormous task of taming the garden and the stream, building a weir to control the waters and forming large ponds surrounded by mature trees and broadleaf plants.
The water adds movement, texture and light: fast-flowing watercourses, a cascade and quiet expanses that reflect trees and other plants. Anthony's birthplace of New Zealand has inspired him to use magnificent architectural plants, such as Gunnera Manicata and Giant Hogweeds. Unlike traditional British gardens, there are no flowering plants (apart from the rich carpet of wildflowers in spring), no borders or beds - nothing is contrived.
The placement of the sculpture is the key aspect, which makes Hannah and Anthony's garden so special. A strong connection between art and nature is crucial; be it the way a plant frames the piece, how the piece accentuates the surrounding planting (such as the texture of the trees or the colour of the moss), or how a shaft of sunlight plays across the surface of the sculpture. In Hannah's mind, the most boring location to place a piece is in the centre of the lawn. Part of the joy is discovering pieces hidden in secluded parts of the garden, creating tiny 'Wonderland' moments.
The exhibition runs for 6 months over the summer season. The garden plays host to a number of schools, art and garden clubs, societies and other groups. Visitors return year after year to see the ever-changing collection.
2014 is shaping up to be an exciting season - we already have an exciting range of new artists who will be taking over the garden with a riot of colour, intriguing materials and fascinating shapes. This year's exhibition promises to be bigger and better than ever before.
Among the artists showing this year 4 members of sculpture network are included:
The Sculpture Garden will be open until the end of October on Fridays and Saturdays, from 11am - 6pm and on Sundays and Bank Holidays from 2pm – 5pm. The Garden remains closed on Mondays, but is open by appointment only for 4 or more people from Tuesdays through until Thursdays.
The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden
2.05 - 26.10.2014