A series of sculptures and installation developed for the exhibition Perennials at the King Street Gallery, Montgomery College in Washington DC, curated by Suzy Kopf.
Ruderal Street Bundles No. 1 – 9
2017, Variable sizes (~5x4x18 in)
Spontaneous urban plants, street debris, twine and string
A perennial is broadly defined as a plant that lives for more than two years, but many perennials live much longer than that. They are the survivors of the plant world, spreading out and taking hold wherever they can. Perennials fight to survive, season after season, year after year in a world that might not want them. What can we learn from them?
We are six artists working across media to address ideas of growth, impermanence and survival of plants within the changing American landscape. Our nation today is a study in contrasts and nowhere is that more poetically reflected than in flora struggling to thrive in an ever-more hostile environment. Between invasive plant growth, climate change, pollution and gentrification encroaching on once wildlands, native plants continue to adapt and grow where they can. Some of these locations are expected and even celebrated like in the homes of enthusiastic caregivers who give their plants names and personalities. And others are a little more dubious and a lot more precarious, such as back lots, sidewalk cracks and out of decaying or abandoned structures. It is the contrast between the cared for and the forgotten that interests us and that we explore in this exhibit.
Christopher Kennedy’s work considers marginal landscapes such as highway underpasses and abandoned lots and post-industrial sites in urban/exurban spaces. With his background as an environmental engineer, Kennedy approaches the urban landscape as a field scientist, presenting his collected samples as art specimen, his findings as creative research on beyond-human urban ecologies.