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Judy Haberl, Professor
Antidote: A Photoluminescent Photographic Installation | 2013, Photograph

Antidote is a single photographic image - composed from hundreds to form one transformative, life-sized magical garden.  Judy Haberl spent several months photographing at the Green Animals Topiary garden, which is part of the Newport Mansions Preservation Society, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The idea of a "heroic" scale is important for her in the realization of this piece, fueled by encountering certain works where an epic scale was integral to the phenomenology of the work: (Claude Monet’s- Water Lilies, The Rothko Chapel, Thomas Demand’s photos.)

The installation reveals a vast topiary garden composed of multiple topiary animals, sculpted from California privet, yew and English boxwood.  The photograph is flanked on both sides by living topiary shrubs, and single images of individual topiary, with a garden bench opposite the mural for meditation. On another wall, is a formation of illuminated glowing doilies, that resemble a stained glass window. Each silicone impregnated doily refers to a floral pattern, woven in lace.  The space proposes the deep magic of a moonlight garden, with its macro and micro moments.

Viewers first encounter this enormous photograph, in the full light of the gallery.  The image is constructed with a graceful arc of sky framed by overhead tendrils of foliage.  Bears, elephants, birds, butterflies, unicorns, camels and a Tyrannosaurus rex, co-mingle in this strange bucolic scene. The light then slowly dims to black and the photograph (printed on a photoluminescent ink-jet paper) glows with the magical quality of silvery moonlight, creating an uncanny sense of visceral depth.  The effect transforms the gallery into a place of magical delight and meditation.

The 21’ X 8’ image is mounted on 7 aluminum panels, which are installed on location, on cleats.  This installation requires a completely darkened room and lighting on a timer system. A garden bench is also desirable for visitors to spend time comfortable in the darkened space.