Good Weather Gallery, North Little Rock, Arkansas 2015

Cultivate Your Garden


Cultivate Your Garden was inspired in part by Voltaire's satirical novel of misadventures, Candide. The novel describes a journey in which characters encounter numerous obstacles (con men, cannibalism, natural disasters, auto-da-fé...) which require their course to be altered yet, when faced with calamity, the protagonist, Candide, continues to assert that all is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds. Of course, the narrative is hyperbolic, but I suggest there is a thematic parallel between Candide's turbulent journey and a creative process in which obstacles appear to undermine production (albeit much less dire!), yet lead to new routes of discovery and reinvention. As the novel ends, Candide and his entourage have settled onto a farm and, at the advice of a wise man, have decided to put the outside world and the tumultuous past behind and focus on doing good work. In the final words of Candide, "we must cultivate our garden."

Individual Works (click for larger view)

Jerry Phillips