"Sanctuary," A Dialogue Between Art and Place

On May 1, Manitoga, the historic landmark house, studio, and 75-acre woodland garden of mid-century designer Russel Wright (1904-1976), opened the season with Sanctuary, a new installation that inspires a dialogue between environment and art. The large-scale aquatic architecture by artist Stephen Talasnik features several woven reed structures that float in the quarry pool by the house.

Sanctuary marks the second season of Manitoga’s Artist Residency program, introduced in 2014 to foster creative responses to Manitoga that invoke Wright’s legacy of creative experimentation and celebration of place.

Talasnik was drawn to Manitoga’s seamless architecture and natural splendor. “There is an intimacy to the choreographed environment that engages the senses. It compels the individual to confront an immediate and intimate space within a suggestively theatrical natural sanctuary,” says the artist.

In his lifetime, Russel Wright transformed Manitoga’s abandoned landscape, scarred by decades of logging and quarrying, into a place of exquisite beauty and design, making the site a stellar example of land reclamation and the use of native plants.

Artist-led tours with Stephen Talasnik are scheduled for May 30 and October 17 at 1:30 p.m. Further information about the Artist Residency program is available at visitmanitoga.org.

Manitoga is located in Garrison, NY, just a few miles south of the Garden Conservancy’s own headquarters. Manitoga has been part of our preservation assistance program for several years; the Conservancy has participated in Manitoga’s Woodland Landscape Council and other programs.