Athenaeum Music & Arts Library Rotunda Gallery

Rotunda Gallery 


Prudence Horne: Garden Plots

March 14–May 2, 2020

Opening Reception—CANCELLED: Friday, March 13, 6:30–8:30 PM



One of the great pleasures of artist Prudence Horne’s life is her garden plot at the Juniper/Ivy Community Gardens in Bankers Hill, San Diego. Horne has kept a plot there for over five years, where she grows the occasional vegetable but focuses on flowers. As a native of Boston, Horne is continually in awe that growing poppies in January is possible. Constantly planting, moving things around, watering and weeding, she describes: "I have painted these small squares as windows into the colors and shapes in my garden. They are little pieces and plots of my garden—they too can be moved around, pairing with other images and creating different visual relationships, similar to the always-changing beauty in my garden."


Prudence Horne grew up in Boston and received her BA in Art History from Trinity College, and MFA in painting from the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. Horne’s paintings focus on a personal response to landscape and have been extensively exhibited throughout the United States and abroad. Horne has been awarded several grants and residency programs, including the William Male Foundation, Heinrich Boll in Co. Mayo, Ireland, Fundacion Valparaiso in Almeria, Spain, and the Montana Artist Refuge in Basin Montana. Horne is an adjunct professor of fine arts and art history at San Diego City College, and teaches art at Donovan State Prison through Southwestern College. She is also a contributing teacher for the teen program at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library and is an active member of FIG (Feminist Imagery Group) in San Diego.


Interview with Prudence Horne

Interview questions by Lidia Rossner


What does it mean to you to have an exhibition at the Athenaeum?


Every time I walk into the Athenaeum I feel at home; it is so familiar and welcoming and I have been a huge fan for years. The Athenaeum has consistently brought fresh and exciting art to the public and it was a great honor when Erika offered me an exhibition.


Since people can’s see the exhibition now, how would you describe it? What is it about?


I am originally from Boston and the spring is a very magical time when the flowers burst out, so when Erika suggested a show in the spring the subject of my garden immediately came to mind. My Garden Plots presents paintings from my little community garden in Bankers Hill.


Walk us though your process of developing the idea, researching, deciding what materials to use, what size to make the works, and other considerations that were important for you.


I am a painter. I like repetition of an idea and I like piecing together images – for my exhibition I envisioned walls of color. In my garden I am constantly planting and moving around plants. A year ago, I began painting individual plants and areas of my garden on small 6”x6” boards – these paintings work as individual paintings and they also work as part of the larger installation of art. The exhibition includes two larger paintings of my garden, these were to anchor the little pieces and to enhance the blast of colors.


Is this new work or continuation of series that you’ve been working on?


This is new work. Prior to these paintings I have been painting the subject of “water” for several years. I like repetition, I like working with one idea, one thought and developing it over and over again—seeing the subtleties and nuances of the same concept.


Tell us a bit about your background and how that shaped or influenced you as an artist?


I am an east coaster brought up by artsy educators. I had the gift of knowing what path I would follow in life from an early age. I think that there is a basic talent gets us involved in an area, but then it is commitment and hard work to persevere and make a life from it. I studied a lot of art history and have spent a great deal of time abroad, looking at art and seeing the power of art has been an energy force for me.


How are you affected by Covid-19?


I am holed up in my studio. I am an adjunct professor at San Diego City College and it has been a slam to get all of my art history lecture classes on line. I have over 120 students and it is hard work to keep my students interested, focused and involved while at the same time providing support and a distraction from this ongoing stress. When I am not on the computer, I am working on larger paintings about my garden which is a lot of fun and a commission piece for the Athenaeum which will be presented on their concert programs. And of course, after all of this rain I am at my garden weeding and thinking about what summer plants to put in.





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