NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Celebrated for bringing international attention to Nashville through dynamic collaborations with world-renowned artists, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens presents Colorscapes, an immersive exploration of humankind’s understanding of color from acclaimed Chicago-based artists Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero of the collaborative Luftwerk, on view May 7 – Sept. 4, 2022. The significant, site-specific exhibition will feature a series of experiential outdoor installations and gallery interventions intended to lead viewers to a better understanding of how we perceive the physical world through color.
“Cheekwood is a special place that merges history, nature and art with an extensive sculpture trail and museum galleries; a fascinating sphere to experience how history, landscape, art and culture weave and grow together,” says Bachmaier and Gallero. “We couldn't envision a more ideal site to exhibit, engage and illuminate our artwork. Our hope is that visitors will celebrate the colors of the natural world through this immersive journey and will feel enriched by exploring the colorful confluence of art, history and natural sciences.”
“For more than a decade, Luftwerk has been realizing some of the most sensational, layered installations of light, color and sound,” says Dr. Marin R. Sullivan, guest curator on the project. “Their work transforms how we see and experience the world around us and is a perfect complement to Cheekwood’s mission of celebrating history, art and horticulture.”
The complicated task of studying color has a rich and complex history. One of the most significant examples is from Age of Enlightenment German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, whose book Nomenclature of Colours was groundbreaking upon its release in 1814, journeying with Charles Darwin during his Beagle voyage around the world in 1831 and serving as a precursor to the modern Pantone system. Werner’s guide, which served as a springboard for the conception of Colorscapes,continues to be an inspiring invitation to look more closely at our surroundings and consider the expansive landscape of colors present in the natural world. Through experience-based art installations, Luftwerk seizes the baton from scholars, writers and naturalists of the past to examine how we perceive our surroundings and provide new context in which we connect with the modern world through color, light and sound.
“Unity through variety” serves as Luftwerk’s mantra for Colorscapes, which will offer a multi-layered journey that responds to and connects the different gardens, architecture and permanent art collection of Cheekwood. The exhibition will first unfold across Cheekwood’s Color Garden, Arboretum Lawn, Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden and portico of the historic mansion, incorporating the use of natural pigments, exploring the phenomenon of light and color in the sky and building on the histories of Cheekwood’s 55 acres of cultivated gardens. Inside the historic mansion, Luftwerk will create immersive color and light installations throughout the more intimately scaled exhibition galleries using botanical colors in combination with color changing light conditions that will transform into abstracted, atmospheric experiences.
“Interdisciplinary, deeply researched and driven by an experimental curiosity, Luftwerk’s creative practice is both highly cerebral and utterly enjoyable,” says Dr. Sullivan. “They have created a truly unique and immersive exhibition for Cheekwood, and I am certain Colorscapes will delight and surprise our visitors.”
Colorscapes will open to the public Tuesday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission must be purchased in advance online. For tickets and more information about Colorscapes and all of Cheekwood’s current and upcoming exhibitions, visit cheekwood.org.
Cheekwood is considered one of the finest American Country Place Era estates in the nation. Formerly the family home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek, the extraordinary 1930s estate, with its 30,000-square-foot Mansion and 55 acres of cultivated gardens and expansive vistas, today serves the public as a botanical garden, arboretum, and museum with period rooms and art galleries, showcasing works from its permanent collection as well as traveling exhibitions. The property includes 13 distinct gardens including the Blevins Japanese Garden and the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden, as well as a 1.5-mile woodland trail featuring modern and contemporary outdoor sculpture. Each year, Cheekwood plays host to seasonal festivals including Cheekwood in Bloom, Summertime at Cheekwood, Cheekwood Harvest and Holiday LIGHTS. Cheekwood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and is a three-time USA Today Top 10 Botanical Garden. In 2020, the grounds were awarded a Level II National Arboretum Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum. Cheekwood is located just 8 miles southwest of downtown Nashville at 1200 Forrest Park Drive. Daily hours of operation: Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission to Cheekwood must be purchased in advance at cheekwood.org. For further information, call 615-356-8000 or visit cheekwood.org.