b. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1992

Ebony Eden offers a meditation on shifting social aesthetics where personal expression emerges through the arrangement and nurturing of plants and objects. Eden uses a parallel drawing method to generate spaces of domestic garden utopia. There is no firm vanishing point or point of view but instead a presentation of infinite arrangement and possibility. There is a lightness in the work and a fluidity in her visual language. Working with lines in parallel, we can perceive depth and scale on this parallel axis as she move from still life to garden landscape.

By using a grid, a form of measure stabilises the work. Pictured as creamy white bricks or tiles with blue pointing that suggests an architectural drafting pencil, the grid either floats or forms the structure of a wall, a pool, a tiled ground. Freehand but surprisingly measured, the grid suggests a dream design proposal. Using acrylic on board, depth is described through the layering of shapes and surface and there is minimal cast shadow. Instead, we might perceive this depth as a background pattern seen through holes in a cheese plant.

The domestic gardens of inner south Sydney are another source for Eden’s work. Here again, plants are sculptural features presented against varying surfaces and structures. Patternlike aggregate concrete may be easy to hose or sweep, but it also offers a contrasting aesthetic backdrop to the sculptural planting contained within.

With the indoor plant, the garden has come inside. It could even be that the new popularity of indoor plants is linked to the rise in apartment living. Plants are sold or exchanged –transferred in tins to be repotted or sent soil-free in the post. In internet culture, the trade in plants can have an hot house quality. Bids are high for particular specimens. To communicate scale, plants are pictured alongside everyday objects (a beer bottle, a ruler). Here Eden finds an expression of absurd aesthetics combined with practicality. Eden’s titles affirm these improvised associations between objects – “crate plinth”, “low maintenance garden”, “shelf or shelves”.

The plant specimens in Eden’s studio are gleaned from online auctions or cuttings exchanged between friends. They grow there among paintings in progress and other collections of geology and found form. She brings these arrangements into her studio and her painted world, a means to organise and explore the cultural dynamics between plants, objects and human sensibilities. There is an edge of uncertainty in the works which allows for flexible thinking. These are proposals for spaces and arrangements. Nothing is really quite fixed and in that there is space for thinking.

Ebony Eden has a background in printmaking from the National Art School. Eden presented a major installation as part of the show Here + Now at the Wollongong Art Gallery in 2018. She has also exhibited in numerous group shows since 2013.

-Melody Willis
EBONY EDEN An Orchid Year |The Egg & Dart 2021
©Ebony Eden