Join us for First Fridays as we celebrate the photography of Tori Purcell, whose show take these home will be on display on the mezzanine for the months of August through November. This event is free and open to the public.
take these home is a series of photographs that looks at the practice and tradition of backyard vegetable gardens in the rural community of Louisa, Virginia. The images were taken in the artist’s hometown, where—decades before—many family farms once grew tobacco or raised cattle. While the larger scale farming has gradually stopped over the years, the same families live in the community today, and one practice that continues is raising backyard vegetable gardens.
When you ask a person who gardens what they are growing or why they raise their garden a certain way, they will always reference the people in their lives who gardened before them. The memories and stories go on and on. The contemporary practice of growing vegetables in the backyard may seem like merely a hobby or pastime, but in reality it keeps the memory of those who did this before them alive and active in one’s mind.
For most, the practice of gardening is quiet and solitary. The work happens early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is low. Many have their daily ritual of waking up before the sun, putting on their gardening clothes, and heading outside to pick the day’s harvest, pull weeds, and inspect the leaves for bugs. After the garden has been tended, they are on to the second, more communal part of gardening, delivering the surplus of vegetables to their family and neighbors.
The images in this project create an immersive dialogue around our connection with the past and take a close look at the fragments of memories and traditions that are selected and preserved. In a global world and a digital time, take these home shines light on a local, rural, unmediated way of living.