David Saunders: Scope
July 28 – August 18 1979
As part of the larger exhibition, “In A Pictorial Framework,” David Saunders presented his installation piece Scope, a contemporary version of a pastoral scene, in which real components mingled with artificial ones. Hay and leaves literally and figuratively constituted the ground. Live fish and plants encompass a figure which represented life, a Lady Bountiful, painted on the underside of an artificial pond in the middle of the installation. The image was inspired by the water nymph, a traditional character in Celtic myths. In spirit, Scope was reminiscent of the playfulness of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Saunders’s approach paralleled the attitude of the medieval troubadours, who did not consider themselves inventors, but “finders” of themes, tales, and songs which they adapted according to their impulses and the lyrical sense which they inspired. In his fascination with the pastoral, Saunders — a maker, preserver, and discoverer — established bonds with the romantic tradition, and an essential experience of nature.