Client: Private Residence
Location: Greenwich, CT, United States
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $170,000
Ruth Frances Greenberg
RFG Tile LLC
Xhema Custom Building
These 57 handmade glazed ceramic cylindrical abstracted “Plants” vary in height from 38″ – 57″ with diameters of 4″, 5″ and 6″. Building code required the client to have a fence around the outdoor spa. She decided to commission an art piece that also met code. Designer Jacques Grange and I loved the concept of using the row of cactus at Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s houses as inspiration.
This installation was intended to harmonize with the surrounding greenery, the hot tub, and the larger context. Amidst a highly textured environment - carved stone wall, limestone surround, bamboo and foliage, the sculptures and glazes have a presence without competing with their context. Building code required the client to have a fence and this dictated the perimeters of minimum size and quantity.
This collaboration with the designer Jacques Grange and the client was a great pleasure and seamless. We all met several times to brainstorm, look at glazes and refine the idea. With mutual respect and the joy of working together, ideas came abundantly and elegant solutions occurred with ease. A structural engineer and the architect helped to create the concept for the infrastructure of the installation and the contractor built it.
Sculptures are installed 4” apart to meet code requirements and materials carefully chosen to withstand the extreme weather conditions of the New England waterfront location. The installation was completed days before hurricane Sandy and fared well during this hurricane. The project spanned 11 months from idea to completion. Because this is a technically difficult form to make - especially when using clay that is waterproof/frostproof and cracks easily at all phases of the project - we made more than 100 cylinders to yield the 57 forms used here.