Indeterminate Growth

with Sam Cotter
Commissioned for Temporary Contemporary 2019–20
Trafalgar Campus, Sheridan College
Plants, hydroponic grow system, steel, phenolic plywood.
14’ x 8’ x 8’

Indeterminate Growth engages with Oakville’s local histories by exploring the contemporary relationship between nature and technology. In creating an open-ended artificial growing environment with hydroponic irrigation, lighting, and plants, the artists want us to pay closer attention to the capacity of plants to “delight and surprise,” and consequently, to reclaim the greenhouse as a structure that can respect plant agency.

Accompanied by a publication with curatorial essays by Valentyna Onisko and Patrick J. Reed.︎ Click to view.

See further details on the Creative Campus Galleries website. Additional documentation to follow.
In plant life, light intensity, hydration, and temperature contribute to germination. Some seeds must pass through the digestive tracts of beasts or endure scraping, cracking, and abuse by the elements to initiate the process. Some must endure flame so the seedling might burst forth.
As human viewers negotiate their spatial and conceptual proximity to the plants on exhibition, the plants negotiate their immediate environment, responding to the variable conditions of light, temperature, and humidity (all the factors important to germination). This pas de deux, enacted across radically different timelines, constitutes part of what the artists consider an interplay leading to interspecies awareness.

—Patrick J. Reed

Archival images courtesy Peel Art Gallery Museum + Archives.
Below, clockwise from top left
: Calvert-Dale Estates Ltd., Florists’ Supplies Catalogue, 1967; Two workers in a greenhouse, c.1910–1917; Chrysanthemums in a Dale Estate greenhouse, c.1910–1917; Dale Estate greenhouses in winter, c.1960; Unidentified man in Dale Estate greenhouse, n.d.