When the Women's Art Society of Montreal arranged a group visit to the Jardins de Lumière this week, Michele and I jumped at the opportunity. This event at Montreal's Botanical Gardens has been getting great reviews since it opened on September 6.
While many of our group were impressed with the figures in the Chinese garden, Michele and I felt they were "Disneyesque", to the point of being garish. Not much variety, subtlety or artistry, from our point of view.
The sculptures appear to be made from textile, stretched over an armature and lit from within.
A musical soundtrack accompanied us as we toured, and a lone musician performed a solo on a stringed instrument in a Chinese pagoda.
As we left the Chinese garden we took an unexpected turn and found ourselves in the Japanese garden.
We came upon a Japanese-styled building, and inside we discovered an exhibit about washi paper. We read about how it is made and saw lots of examples.
The best part of the evening was to come. As we left the building, we entered the Japanese garden, with its many beautifully structured trees, subtly lit from beneath. Spotlit architectural accents, like bridges and lanterns, completed the landscape, creating a panorama of stark simplicity and haunting natural forms.
Midway through the circuit, we became separated from the other members of the group. We hope that they too stumbled upon the magic of the Japanese garden, which for us was the highlight of the evening.
If you're planning a visit, be sure to see both gardens, if only to compare the two very different styles. The event continues until November 3.
For more information, and to see a 2-minute video clip of the exhibit, please visit the website.