Adjoining the gallery is a large walled garden in two sections.
It is the site of the first recorded works by Andy Goldsworthy made in 1976. This internationally successful environmental artist was a student here when the building housed the art department of Preston Polytechnic, now the University of Central Lancashire.
The garden was neglected and inaccessible to the public for many years, but in 1998 Storey Gallery succeeded in attracting Tate Liverpool and the Henry Moore Trust to fund the creation of a permanent environmental artwork, The Tasting Garden by Mark Dion, and provide a tranquil green space in the centre of the city.
This art work was part of artranspennine98 - an exhibition of international contemporary visual art in which 50 artists created 40 artworks for 30 sites from Liverpool to Hull. The Tasting Garden is one of the few permanent artworks.
The paths through The Tasting Garden are in the form of the branches of a tree. Reminiscent of a family tree, or an evolutionary tree, the branch pathwork also evokes the tree-of-life, a literary and visual metaphor with a rich cultural history.
Each of the four main branches of this tree-pathwork bears a major northern fruit (apple, cherry, plum and pear), and each small branch path is dedicated to a particular variety of tree, together with a bronze sculpture of its fruit.
Many of the trees chosen for The Tasting Garden are rare or endangered varieties which are threatened by the loss of small-scale farmlands or the shift to monoculture agricultural production. Industrial farming privileges only a handful of plants which exhibit commercially desirable traits such as long shelf-life, large yields , sweet taste, and pest resistance. A number of breeds which have long been neglected, and which offer a more expansive and challenging taste spectrum, are included in The Tasting Garden. They provide flavours and textures which are normally inaccessible to all but a handful of expert cultivators.
In one corner is The Arboriculturist's Workshed, a diminutive folly or monument, which acknowledges the grand achievements and skills, in terms of both physical labour and intellect, of the men and women who created this diversity of fruit varieties.
Mark Dion is an internationally renowned American artist whose work incorporates aspects of archaeology, ecology, and detection. His work explores the deeply conflicting ideas we have about nature, and is exhibited internationally including : Tate Gallery, London; Natural History Museum, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan.
The Tasting Garden is a hybrid - part orchard and part artwork.
The Garden is an artwork - the artwork is a garden.
Unfortunately The Tasting Garden is closed at present. It was vandalised and the bronze fruits were stolen. Article in The Art Newspaper 2009
Storey Gallery is planning to restore The Tasting Garden. If you would like to contribute in any way, please contact us.