Dana Fritz, "Tea Garden Fence", Japanese Garden, Portland, 2002, gelatin silver print

Dana Fritz, “Tea Garden Fence”, Japanese Garden, Portland, 2002, gelatin silver print

Dana Fritz

The photographs in the series Garden Views: The Culture of Nature investigate the tenuous relationships between people and plants. These images reveal the unique balance of power that occurs in formal gardens and conservatories. Although the natural world has an elaborate system of order, humans have imposed another system of order on the plants that often has very little to do with the original ways of their subjects. This can be as simple as planting seeds in rows or as elaborate as creating a jungle in Omaha. I am fascinated with our attempts to control the natural world, and I too participate in its domination. In my backyard garden as well as other more notable public and private landscapes, I witness the delicate and shifting balance of power. A beautifully manicured planting is as intriguing as the uncontrollable spread of noxious weeds or a tree that grows through a fence. In the garden we alternately work with and against the plants as we struggle to keep them “in line.” In both Eastern and Western traditions the practice of gardening reveals simultaneously our distance from and longing for “the natural.”

Dana Fritz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She earned her MFA from Arizona State University in 1995, her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and studied abroad in Japan and Nova Scotia. Fritz was an Artist in Residence at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, CA and has exhibited her work at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Nebraska, the Adell McMillan Gallery at the University of Oregon in Oregon, San Jacinto Community College Fine Art Gallery in California, Lubbock Fine Arts Center in Texas, the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri, and in Arizona at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona, Tucson Museum of Art in Arizona, and the Phoenix Art Museum. Her work is in the collections at Arizona State University Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Wayne State College, and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.