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Hamptons Life

Jun 4, 2018 12:17 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Parrish Art Museum's 'Landscape Pleasures' Offers Insights Into Future Of Landscape Architecture

Sklifka garden, East Hampton.  COURTESY PARRISH ART MUSEUM COURTESY PARRISH ART MUSEUM
Jun 4, 2018 12:33 PM

Artists have always drawn on nature for inspiration, with scenic landscapes and natural elements playing a key role in paintings, sculpture and design.

This weekend, the Parrish Art Museum is taking it one step further, highlighting the landscape itself as an art form, hosting three days of talks, garden tours and presentations about the integral role landscaping can play in accentuating the natural beauty of the East End.

“This year in particular, the three landscape architects that will be speaking all have one thing in common. All three really are almost more artists—or at least, as much artists—as they are landscape architects,” said Stacy Paetzel, a co-chair of the Parrish’s Landscape Pleasures. “When you look at the way all three approach the medium of landscape design, they always incorporate some component of art. They are using materials and exterior components to transform them into environmental art.”

The weekend of programs kicks off on Friday, June 8, at the museum in Water Mill with Inter-Sections: The Architect in Conversation, with speakers Kate Orff and Alex Matthiessen.

Ms. Orff’s landscape firm, Scape, was recently one of eight American companies asked to participate in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, a prestigious international event where participants are asked to highlight a different aspect of the year’s theme, “free space.”

“I will be talking about landscapes, revisioning the relationship between water and land, and discussing a number of our projects that bring together social life and ecosystems—including oyster textures and living breakwaters,” Ms. Orff said of her Parrish presentation when reached last week. “I will also be talking about the impacts of fertilizers and pesticides in the landscape and its impacts on regional water bodies and offering alternative solutions.”

According to Ms. Orff—who has been working in landscape design since graduating from Harvard in 1997 and launching her Manhattan-based company, Scape—it is important for people to merge making something look beautiful, with making it ecologically savvy.

“I think that too often when we think about landscape design we focus on the realm of the private garden, frankly to the detriment of the larger immersive ecological landscapes in our region,” she explained, adding that she goes into depth on the topic in her new book, “Toward an Urban Ecology.” “I think that part of what I am going to try and speak about is reconnecting those.”

Following her presentation, Ms. Orff will be joined by Mr. Matthiessen, the president of eco-political consulting firm Blue Marble Project, to discuss changes that communities can make through infrastructure and landscaping to benefit natural resources.

The weekend will continue with a symposium on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring presentations from landscape architects Martha Schwartz, Peter Wirtz and Mikyoung Kim. The symposium will be followed by a cocktail party in the Sagaponack garden and sculpture field of Susan and Louis K. Meisel.

“I love the fact that we get truly world-class speakers to come to the Parrish,” Ms. Paetzel said. “It is a really great opportunity for people to hear what other landscape architects, designers, and icons in the garden industry are thinking about and what is inspiring them, while also offering the chance to visit these world class gardens that are not normally open to the public.”

On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., participants will be given the chance to see parts of the earlier discussions in action with self-guided garden tours in East Hampton and Southampton villages, and Water Mill.

Admission to Inter-Sections is $12, or free for Parrish members. Tickets for Inter-Sections plus the Landscape Pleasures symposium and garden tours are $250, or $200 for Parrish members, and a combination ticket including the cocktail party is $400. Visit parrishart.org/LandscapePleasures2018 or call 631-283-2118, extension 150.

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