THE FERNERY BY PHIL PRICE
You may have spied them through the windows of The Garden Eateries; tall, brilliantly coral, unique and almost impossible to miss.
In fact when you first set foot inside the garden itself you’re immediately struck by the scale and beauty of these tree-like sculptures. In this lush green setting this family of trees, albeit unlike any you’ve ever seen, are the brainchild of internationally regarded New Zealand sculptor Phil Price.
Phil’s passion for kinetic sculpture started from a very early age when learning how things worked was an intrinsic part of his childhood. “I was a tinker as a child and I spent a great deal of my youth tinkering with motorcycles, taking them apart and putting them together. There is now, I can see, a great parallel.” Clearly Phil’s passion for tinkering coupled with his ability to think outside the box enables him to create these intriguing, beautiful art forms that seem to defy the laws of physics. “I’m interested in forms, I’m interested in how impossible things can become possible. …I’ve always thought this, that rules are nothing more than a guideline.”
When asked about the inspiration behind The Fernery and the way in which the sculptures are placed, Phil explains that the close grouping of the artworks intentionally mimics the way ferns are found in nature; often clustered together. “I was very intrigued by the possibility that this piece could be engineered like a tree or like a plant and be inspired by the natural world”. This multi-piece installation is a first for Phil who hopes that their overall presence and connection to nature will provide a sense of wonder for those who stop to admire them. “[I love the idea] that people can look at them and be reminded of something that gives them tranquillity”.
Perhaps one of the most captivating features of The Fernery is the unpredictable way each branch turns as if appearing to dance, “[They] spin and move as though moving and changing with the wind.” The fluid grace Phil has managed to achieve in each piece is a masterful display of engineering and refinement coupled with the familiar feel of a windswept bush. Truly a delight to watch.
Phil hopes The Fernery will be a happy place. “I rather hope it will be a special place that stays with people and that people want to go back to with their friends and their loved ones.” We are sure they will.