Skip to content

Chambers Fine art is pleased to announce the opening on April 24 of Microcosm - The New York Chinese Scholar's Garden. Curated by Christophe W. Mao and Judith Whitbeck (Curator, Chinese Scholar's Garden at the Staten Island Botanical Garden), this exhibition is a photographic exploration of The New York Chinese Scholar's Garden, located on Staten Island, New York. It is held in conjunction with the First International Symposium on Chinese Classical Gardens, April 26-28, 2002, organized by the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden, in collaboration with Asia Society, China Institute, and Columbia University.

The New York Chinese Scholar's Garden opened to the public in June 1999. Based on the designs of Zhou Gongwu, widely acknowledged as China's leading scholar in the area of classic garden design, it is the only authentic classical garden built in the United States. Using materials for the architectural setting prefabricated in Suzhou, the garden capital of China, and rocks from the Suzhou area, a team of 40 Chinese artists and artisans took up residence on the grounds in 1998 and finished their work in six months.

This exhibition explores this extraordinary environment through the eyes of three contemporary photographers, John Bigelow Taylor, Dianne Dubler and Sally Larsen. John Bigelow Taylor and Dianne Dubler, well known for their photographic essays on subjects as diverse as the furniture of George Nakashima and the Thaw collection of American Indian Art in Cooperstown, New York, have traveled widely in Europe and Asia. The images in the current exhibition grew out of a study, initially undertaken just before September 11, of motion, study and reflection, supplemented by more realistic representations of the extraordinary, enclosed landscape. Particularly noteworthy is the monumental study of the Meandering Cloud Wall that defines part of the garden.

Sally Larsen, who lives and works in San Francisco, has traveled widely in China and Japan. Developing the orotone technique popularized by Curtis, in which the reverse of the glass is covered in 23-karat gold leaf, she has been able to give a feeling of timelessness to her studies of gardens and martial artists. Visiting New York shortly after the tragedy of September 11, she found solace in the enclosed space of the Chinese Scholar's Garden and recorded her impressions in the photographs in this exhibition.