Art Series

Gina van der Ploeg


Root Drawing Series is another fragment of the hyacinth that calls to the animal, the living, and the spreading. As I worked with the hyacinth stem, I decided to keep other parts of the plant. The roots piled up; their tiny spindly forms pulled me in and demanded close attention for their strangeness. Suspended in water, these roots fan out, seeking nutrients and connecting with the roots of other hyacinths to form their impenetrable mat. Once pulled from the water, the roots clump together, their feathery bits grabbing hold of each other, intertwining. There is a tension between the large hyacinth stem installation and the tiny feather roots, delicately held by mull cloth, as we wonder how such minute roots could support a hyacinth mat that spans for kilometers across rivers and dams.

These ideas of tension, tautness, movement, expanding, and transitioning are explored in each work. Feather Root Drawing I hangs as a doorway, its dimensions familiar, creating a transitional “gateway”. While roots usually “anchor and entrench” (Baird, 2001), hyacinth roots navigate an edge between settling and moving. At once they establish themselves firmly, completely covering water surfaces and remain uprooted, ready to flow downriver with the current at any moment.