Jam together the 19th century English landscape garden with its meandering paths, topiary and prerequisite points of interest with the makeshift geodesic domes of the 1960s artist community Drop City. Or define two sets using a Venn diagram, label one nature and the other architecture and examine their shared space using artificial turf, Mylar and a creepy Buckminster Fuller–esque structure.
This is the territory of installation artist Jenine Marsh, who spent a number of weeks in the dark basement of Stride
It’s tough to pinpoint the exact message in Marsh’s diorama. At times it’s a mock terrarium, at other times the details spin into cliché sci-fi imagery with the bushes appearing as mountains in a glass-covered city. Marsh engages many competing themes here, but what rough edges exist are easily forgiven in light of the energy and obsessiveness she brings to the work.
Hers is a world where the natural ecosystem is recreated as a schematic, a layered and plastic simulacrum seen through a compound eye. The shifting facets distort viewpoints suggesting that the intersections between architecture and nature are continually located and dislocated, sort of what designers of early English gardens saw as a goal. Ultimately Marsh’s work, feeling like a blend of childhood tent and biomorphic microcosm, is compelling for its unstated subtext: a young, savvy artist attempts to interpret an interconnected, wired world shifting at an algorithmic speed. (1004 MacLeod Tr SE, Calgary AB)