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The exhibition, which runs until June 24th, is an installation of found objects, sculpture, paintings, tools, rope, pails, wood, etc. Joe Brubaker served as the head gardener with a team of local artists and art students who dug in to create The Exquisite Garden.

The day I visited was a warm day and upon opening the gallery door, a gust of cool air was my first sensation. The gallery is dimly lit and a sentry sits, watching from his high up perch. There are seemingly individual clusters within the larger installation, with an “island” in the center. It creates a circular path for viewers to walk around. I walked through twice to see the outside groupings and then the inner construction.

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The cool darkness along with the sounds of the Bayou playing in the background create a sensation of a post-apocalyptic Pirates of the Caribbean. My other thought was that of being in a life-size I Spy book and not wanting to miss anything- I spied five birds, a dozen bottle caps, and one hundred balloon bits. The volunteer at the desk pointed out that there is always something new to see. There are many different types of trees: paper maché, cardboard, driftwood, as well as a plethora of implements. The natural and the industrial combine in this man-made garden.

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The colors have a very contemporary feel with muted grays and beiges dominating, but not without some bursts of monochromatic color arrangements, like a grouping of natural and unnatural red objects. Suggesting a Pirates of the Caribbean ambience would mean that there must be pirates, but in a post-apocalyptic world: they’re damaged and yet, serene.

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A fan of installation exhibitions, I’ve always felt that they were an excellent way to introduce children to art because of their physicality and often, whimsical nature. The Exquisite Garden rises to the challenge and is calming to boot!

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The following link provides a time-lapse look at the creation of The Exquisite Garden: Creating an Art Exhibit – time lapse: http://youtu.be/ELRhoOw7puM

Joe Brubaker’s The Exquisite Garden will be on display through June 24, 2012. William D. Cannon Art Gallery in the Carlsbad City Library Complex 1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad, CA 92011 760-602-2021. Hours: Tues – Sat 11a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun 1p.m. – 5p.m. http://www.carlsbadca.gov/arts

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