I mentioned Fernando Caruncho in an earlier blog as the eminent landscape designer. I admit that the one element that I did not immediately relate to in his gardens was the use of many straight lines. I have been accustomed to Olmstead and other designers who mirror nature with their fluid curves.
But Caruncho’s gardens are more philosophically based, and his argument for geometry is cogent:
From time immemorial geometry has been the rational and civilized way to express knowledge. It has been a status language, the language of those who, together with the priests and the kings, were in contact with the gods… What are the Tibetan mandalas, the Babylonian ziggurats, the Egyptian pyramids, or the Gothic cathedrals, but geometric expressions that relate the spirit of man to space?
Okay, that’s powerful. I now see how his straight lines work for him. And for Japanese gardens. And for any artist, who often starts out with a geometric straight-edged surface on which to create his/her work.
Over the years, I have noticed the grid attempting to come into my work again and again. But when it appeared, I’d dismiss it. I had a bias against the straight line – too harsh, too unnatural.
But with Caruncho, I find such a strong argument that it’s given me pause. “Expressing knowledge”? “In contact with gods”? With geometry?
I would not have guessed.