ArtisSpectrum Vol.38, November 2018

ARTisSpectrum | Volume 38| 49 The perspectives in your artwork relish the use of ‘lines’ to build strong, lucid compositions. At the same time, your work expresses emotive qualities through color and texture. Do you feel that the natural environment can produce excesses that require structure through planning, design, and use of lines, color and texture? Nature can be very excessive – as when a garden becomes overgrown – the case when I started at the Bakwin Garden (BG). Inhabited landscapes, like buildings, need a designed structure to function best and give us a sense of order. In contrast, landscape structure is not dependent on rigid geometric lines. BG structure is planar – based on a clear foreground, middle ground, and background – but with hardly a straight line found in its makeup. BG fluidity arises from its preeminent rock outcroppings and native forest environment (‘genius loci’). Structure itself can do without color and texture, but without them, environments quickly become static, sterile, and dull. Minimalist works (of any kind) require intelligent thought on color and/or texture to be successful. In time, 20th Century Modernists found that out. Notably in the 19th Century, color began to play a more important role in garden design through art movements such as Impressionism to Cubism. Which movement influenced your use of color in garden design and how did that in turn contribute to your development as a fine artist? Distinct tasks within garden design are planting design and flower garden design. Best known for the latter was the Englishwoman Gertrude Jekyll. She was herself greatly influenced by the Impressionists in the use of color, prior to her, the garish color of Victorian annual beds ruled. All gardeners since, myself included, are disciples of Jekyll’s teaching on the nuances of flower colors. How to combine them to great effect, and the merit of using native perennial garden plants has been an important guide to gardeners. Her principles also apply to planting design with trees and shrubs as well. For art, Post-Impressionists Cezanne, Seurat, and Van Gogh are more influential in my use of color. Michael Victor Ruggiero with Mr. Bakwin An InterviewWith Michael Victor Ruggiero By Angela Di Bello