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How does your garden grow?

Laura Jean Forrester brings Rise and Shine to Studio 21, just in time for spring.



It takes decades for a tall tree to grow, but Laura Jean Forrester managed to put together a whole garden in just two months. 

When we spoke to Forrester for the New Art issue in January, the NSCAD grad had just moved back to Halifax from Lunenburg. She'd been set to create a new body of work for a solo exhibit at Studio 21 next November, but a call came at the end of December, asking if she'd be able to move the show up to March.

The temptation of a springtime exhibit was too much to resist for an artist who specializes in flowers. "I said, 'Sure, let's do it,'" says Forrester, laughing. The resulting exhibit of sculptural ceramics is "a celebration for the renewal of spring." An immersive installation, the sculptures focus on flowers that come into bloom in early spring.

"I've got some magnolia, and elm, and poppies and tulips–the first signs of life," Forrester says. The elm is particularly ambitious, a tree that spans almost five metres across a wall. The show has "some surprises," hiding in an L-shaped space at the rear of the gallery.

"I like it when it's a large expression and your eye follows it and you can get kind of immersed in it," Forrester says. The installation is among the largest in her career thus far, making it even more incredible that she's pulled it together on the short timeline, alongside moving into a new apartment and setting up a home studio.

"I was fortunate that I've got some support, some really great support systems in the community, but it was sort of a big feat to get all of my materials and get set up again outside the NSCAD umbrella," she says.

Growing up on a flower farm, Forrester thinks of spring as the most exciting time of year."It's hopeful." And on the farm this time of year? "Tulips. Lots and lots of tulips."

Laura Jean Forrester, Rise and Shine
Studio 21
1273 Hollis Street
To April 6

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