In his garden design and in his interiors harmony and geometry prevails without right angles and straight lines
Harmony is the central theme in Lew French’s work outside in gardens and terrain or inside, for example, around a fireplace and as the design of a wall – harmony in nature and with nature. However: unmistakably his works are of human hand and in kind of geometrical perfection, even if there is nowhere a right angle or a straight line.
And it becomes just as clear on closer inspection that it was the artist who set and implemented the rules for the particular arrangement of the pieces of material, not nature.
But it also becomes just as clear that he has reserved the greatest freedom and quasi even participation for the stones or branches with which he prefers to work, i.e., nature: the components of his works are indeed cleaned, but their form is at most minimally processed. “All things have souls, all things have spirits,“ he says in a video on his webpage.
In a side note in a reply email to us, he explains his reference to the stones and organic material: he puts them together “so we can see and focus on what’s already art.“
As far as possible, he always seeks and finds the materials directly at the respective location.
Lew French has been an active artist in gardening, landscaping, and interior design for more than 35 years. He centers his life on the island of Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. It is famous for its scenic beauty.
On his development as an artist, he is quoted in a magazine article, “None of this would have happened for me if I’d lived anywhere other than Martha’s Vineyard.“
His work can be found primarily on the isle, in private homes or sprawling gardens.
But he has also worked elsewhere in the United States. For this, he has secured a team of collaborators to help with larger projects as well.
Recently, he spends 6 months of the year in Brazil on the east coast, in an area dominated by the Mata Atlântica forests. Here, too, as in Martha’s Vineyard, nature has laid a beautiful carpet of green across the hills.
Lew French emphasizes in an email that, for him, the physical work is part of the art.
Apparently, it is important to him to touch the material with his hands as well, not just to have an idea of the final form in his head. Perhaps this is what he means by saying, “Nothing is more powerful than the natural world, I’m just trying to highlight stones and organic materials.“
One of his concerns with each work is that people find their way into it.
In the video on his webpage, some of his clients joke that he has turned them into sprayers: on camera, they demonstrate how, when wet, the colors of the stones on their mantels change, and express fascination at this discovery Lew has shown them.
One even marvels at himself for having been instigated to do such a thing: “Lew is so stubborn,“ he says with a laugh.
Or the case of a sculpture in a meadow: with a lot of imagination, it can be understood as a crocodile or a reclining dinosaur – a magazine article reports Lew’s pure joy at how the kids have appropriated this work.
Or those scenes in the video where Lew himself stalks around one of his walls in a garden and how he stands on his tiptoes to look at the other side.
“I’m trying to read and interpret nature, trying to understand how it affects me and all of us and then create something with it,“ he writes in an email.
(29.09.2023, USA: 09.29.2023)