Deconstructing 13 Stripes and a Rectangle is a series of custom-sized burlap sacks filled with sand, 2010-2011. Inspired by the idea of Victory Gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. Designed and drawn referencing the geometry of the United States Flag, these floor sculptures play on the idea of representing gardens located and planned as to give a maximum impact with a minimum of wasted materials.

“In poetry, tradition, and fact, gardens have long symbolized peace. But peace is no longer in the world, and if we are not to find ourselves astigmatized ostriches, with our heads buried deep in the sands of lost opportunity, our gardens must become for us more than mere green oases of escape."

quoted from Gardens for Victory, Written by Jean-Marie Putnam & Lloyd C. Cosper, © 1942, Harcourt Brace Second Printing

Exhibition blurb:

Through installations, drawings and films, Amy O’Neill draws upon American vernacular culture and folklore, foregrounding their strangeness and blurring the distinction between authenticity and kitsch.  Inspired by the Victory Gardens, which were planted at private residences and public parks across the United States and Europe during the two World Wars, O’Neill’s new series of floor sculptures builds upon the artist’s interest in “defunct modes of domestication and plays with the relationship between the functional and the symbolic.

Deconstructing 13 Stripes and a Rectangle #1, 2010
photo courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery