There is a space of beauty and tranquility at The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University that even though we can't physically experience during this tragic time of the coronavirus pandemic, we can still get a sense of it—virtually. Artist Ebony G. Patterson's exhibit, . . . while the dew is still on the roses . . ., is not only to some degree hidden from us right now, but it hides in its artistry elements of human difference as well. According to Jameela F. Dallis in her INDY Week article, Ebony G. Patterson Drenches the Nasher in Mourning Glory, "Patterson conjures the faces, shapes, and experiences of people who are black, brown, average, poor, queer, beautiful, complicated—and their relationship to beauty, land, and place."
Patterson encourages us to not only see the pretty flowers and patterns in the garden, but to look beneath and between the beauty to engage in what lies underneath the surface -- that which makes us uncomfortable. Our unique human diversity and individual perspectives allows us to experience what we see very differently. Historically, dew, or early morning water droplets, have been considered sources of healing and have been believed by ancient peoples to hold mystical properties. Ancient people viewed dew as representative of the Universal Spirit in condensed form, such as a life elixir, appearing in the vast calm of a clear night sky with the power to offer nourishment and regenerative power.
Why not experience it and immerse yourself in the power of the night garden through photos of the Exhibition’s Opening Party, the exhibit’s webpage and podcast with a renewed focus relishing in the lush and entrancing beauty and mourning glory of a night garden?
Article written by Pamela Bivens
Image: Installation view of Ebony G. Patterson . . . while the dew is still on the roses . . . , Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, February – July 2020, © Ebony G. Patterson
All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago
Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion