Grass Snake

Patterson Webster
Grass Snake   2006 − ongoing
Grass sod, chicken wire, perforated hose, tin, metal reflectors, Styrofoam apple
Collection of the artist

In this installation, a strip of sod shaped like a snake winds its way up the trunk of an old maple tree, its tongue flickering towards an apple that is always just out of reach. The work suggests the Garden of Eden, Paradise Lost, and the impossibility of achieving perfection, whether in a garden or in life.  The piece also expresses the need to continually strive for knowledge, a belief central to the artist’s approach to life.

Linguistic humour contributes additional layers to this work. The apple is used because of its traditional role in the Biblical story, but also because the scientific name for the genus of apple trees, Malus, means “evil” in Latin. And the sod makes literal the “grass” of a grass snake.