College of Communications and Fine Arts Art Museum of the University of Memphis
University of Memphis Photo
Sara Good: Like Seed to Soil

Like Seed to Soil is considered part of a larger body of garden and soil-related works that date back to 1999.  As part of that body, it continues the botanical concern, and shares in a regard for the character of found materials, and in the practice of time-intensive handmade processes.


     Most recently, the idea of “garden” has expanded to include the asphalt plane.  As with the work here, the gathering field became exclusive to paved surfaces.  At a certain point asphalt seemed like soil, fertile and absorptive, its aggregated mass appearing as an endless seedbed.  Upon its surface are found the materials of discard, like seeds that it takes unto itself.

     This interest in seeds and roots directed me to seek imagery from a range of botanical sources.  The photographs, and especially the drawings I encountered, were profoundly interesting unto themselves.  One such source was Henry D. Thoreau’s last manuscript, The Dispersion of Seeds.  Like Seed to Soil was greatly informed by Thoreau’s work.

     I discovered the beauty of line in his handwriting.  I was inspired by the freshness and visual power of his seed and root sketches.  Even more, my work owes to his discussions of “fly-away” seeds, which described their falling and spreading action.  As with the pitch pine seeds “falling in a dense shower…like grain scattered by the hand of a sower.”  Or the seeds which “fill the air,” and the willow down that “floats in a meandering manner,” sometimes sailing upward “as high as rooftops.”  These phrases and others, as well as his statements about tree growth patterns, strongly suggested a means for spatial treatment.

     Ultimately, however, Like Seed to Soil evolved through a layering of influences, ideas, and experiences.  Along with Thoreau’s work, I was impacted most by the power of the materials I gathered.  I felt an odd but deep connection to the asphalt spaces I entered.  And finally, in an important way parts of this work seem to have derived from my own gardening experiences.

Sara Good


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Last Updated: 10/24/12