Arts

Colorado Springs artist creates secret garden in new exhibit | Arts & Entertainment

What lurks below a thriving garden might be even more beautiful.

Liz McCombs has spent months building a secret garden in her studio. What has emerged are ceramic and mixed-media humanlike sculptures all caught in the mysterious process of metamorphosis. Greenery sprouts up out of curled-up human figures; rootlike vegetables have grown heads sporting full lips and round eyes; and femalelike figures are given tangled roots for legs while lush gardens push up out of their skulls.


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Her pieces start with kiln-fired ceramic to which she adds recycled materials, such as wood, bark and pieces of glass.

“A key element of the show was transformation from one thing to something else,” says the longtime Colorado Springs artist. “In the garden you have birth, death, one thing nourishing something else, all things that make life life. I incorporate those ideas into each of the pieces. Each one has a unique story. They all fall under the overreaching idea of transition.”

“Secret Garden” is open now at Bridge Gallery. You can see the show from noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays through October. McCombs also will be working in the gallery throughout the month. Also on display will be a series of Halloween-inspired pieces, some influenced by the Day of the Dead Mexican holiday.

McCombs, an avid gardener, has always been fascinated by the cycle of life under the surface, and in this case, the garden. A simple seed is planted, watered and nourished with loving care and attention. How will that seed grow? What will it become? The possibilities are endless.

“It’s like the acorn turning into an oak tree,” she says. “I like the revealed and concealed idea. There are secrets inside all things and if given the right