solarise: a sea of all colors
“I was attracted by the immensity of the sea, and in its place came the Great Plains of America…. A sea of flowers in all colors of the rainbow.” Jens Jensen | Landscape Architect A site-specific response to Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory, solarise: a sea of all colors is comprised of five dynamic, immersive installations: Portal, Florescence, Seed of Light, Prismatic and The Beacon. Each artwork invites visitors to interact with color, light, and nature in new p The Garfield Park Conservatory, often referred to as “landscape art under glass,” is located in historic Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side. It is among the city’s most unique sites, attracting visitors from a variety of cultures, disciplines, and interests. The Conservatory, originally constructed between 1906 and 1907, was designed by Jens Jensen (the West Side Park Commission’s chief landscape architect and general superintendent) in collaboration with Prairie School architects Schmidt, Garden and Martin, and the New York engineering firm Hitchings and Company. Jensen worked his way up to the post of chief landscape architect, allowing him to observe the plants’ growth and the public’s interaction with the displays up close. By the time he rose to the position of chief, Chicago’s public gardens were in great decline: The exotic plant samples they housed struggled to thrive in the temperate midwestern environment. Jensen’s vision—the largest, publicly owned, uninterrupted conservatory in the world at the time—was revolutionary. Before his breakthrough design, most greenhouses were filled with potted plants arranged in elaborate displays—impressive, yet removed from their natural context. Jensen’s Conservatory created displays that allowed plant samples to grow directly from the ground alongside winding walkways and lagoons. Jensen’s approach allowed native plants—the contemporary alongside the prehistoric—to thrive, and his imaginative outlook has gone on to shape popular understandings of relationships between humans and nature.erspectives, heightening awareness for the viewer’s natural surroundings, the relevance of Jensen’s visionary landscape, and the architectural and civic significance of the building and its grounds. The solarise: a sea of all colors exhibition was scheduled for one year, from Equinox September 23, 2015 through Equinox September 22, 2016.