It's hard to remember that Pinecrest Gardens has been operating out of that quiet corner in the Village of Pinecrest once inhabited by Parrot Jungle for over a decade now. It's a much needed part of South Florida, a garden and a designated zone for the "cultural enrichment," history, and environmental preservation diverse ecosystems. With thousands of varieties of rare tropical and exotic plants, acres of native forested wetlands and tropical hardwood hammocks, Pinecrest Gardens is an unassuming behemoth hidden in a residential zone.
With its natural beauty, tight paths, shady canopies and open areas, Pinecrest Gardens is an ideal place to exhibit sculpture. In a show of force designed to herald its entry into Art Basel's satellite and peripheral exhibits, they've landed a six-month exhibit of Philip Haas' well-known quartet of large-scale sculptures, the "Four Seasons."
Haas, best-known for his stylized, cringe-inducing 1995 film Angels & Insects, brings his take on Renaissance classics The Four Seasons by 16th-century painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo to Pinecrest Gardens.
Haas' sculptures, now at a towering 15 feet in height, are composed of steel-reinforced fiberglass; extravagant and muscular, they're fashioned to resemble organic material. Their subtle severity of weight makes them both imposing and commanding.
Park management has done right by placing these works in a tight group in the vicinity of their large banyan's shade and amidst a fragrant, floral gardens. While not entirely camouflaged, the sculptures seem at ease while offsetting the balance with their playful nature.
Each representation of an "individual season" is "distinctly unusual and extravagant. AUTUMN is comprised of fall vegetables, ripe grapes and leaves turning color. Weathered bark and verdant moss make up WINTER's stoic bust, which sits on top of a cloak of straw. SPRING evokes rebirth and vibrancy with a face consisting of rose-colored petals and hair brimming with elaborate flowers. SUMMER's hue is a variety of sun-kissed yellows; its face and headdress sprout onions, garlic, corn, peas, a multiplicity of fruit, and a cucumber nose."
The art programs at Pinecrest Gardens has set a high bar for future acts to follow. If they can keep this type of high-profile visibility going, they'll be giving a certain neighbor in the Gables' area competition. If they can manage some legacy pieces for permanent display in the future, that would be an even bigger boon. Since Haas has already touted the location, saying "I can't think of a better venue than Pinecrest Gardens to inaugurate the Florida tour of this work," it only seems like a matter of time before Pinecrest Gardens is forever able to marry that perfect combination of art and nature.
"Four Seasons" will be on display through April 6, 2015 at Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 Red Road, Village of Pinecrest. Admission is $5, children two and younger get in free. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Call 305-669-6990 or visit pinecrestgardens.org.