How do you explore the essential spirit of where you live? In Suzi Moon’s case, you paint what the residents around you love: the impeccably groomed foliage adorning only the most charismatic of her neighboring front yards. These are “The Shrubs,” a series of paintings depicting the topiary of Whittier, each bush painstakingly trimmed to achieve maximum geometry. These paintings were on view at the Brewery Art Walk on the weekend of April 26.
This enormous bonsai-looking tree looms in an elder couple’s property. Moon says these folks rent a cherry-picker twice a year so they can effectively prune it into submission.
There’s something in the way people lovingly take care of their shrubs, “treating them,” Moon says, “like their pets.” It takes some commitment, not just watering them but also maintaining a design for decades at a time. This is an investment, a way to show pride in where you live.
These bushes are a relic of the past. Modern water-saving designs and more natural-appearing approaches to landscaping have rendered the perfectly coiffed boxwood obsolete in many parts of Los Angeles. This is a glimpse into the aesthetic gardening trends of the past, as they still flourish today in Moon’s hometown of Whittier, California.
Moon stands in front of her “Shrub” series, as well as some portraits of artist Steven J. Brooks and paintings documenting neighborhood kids trick-or-treating at her home. More information on Suzi Moon’s paintings can be found on her website here.