Author(s): ROBERT PEACOCK
Nearly twenty-five years ago, the Reverend Howard Finster began to build his fantastic version of the Garden of Eden in a swampy plot of land northwest of Atlanta, Georgia. His Paradise Garden is a wild, lush landscape of flowers, berries, fruit trees, and animals - intermingled with Finster's extraordinary, outrageous art. To create the garden, he fixed whimsical objects in every nook and cranny, and suspended his colorful paintings from each available surface, from trees to fences to walls, incorporating such found objects as bottlecaps, glass, discarded tools, rusted machine parts, and even old cars and bicycles in a brilliant collage of texture, light, and color. Sometimes considered "Outsider Art, " the 80-year-old Finster's work invites viewers to read, touch, and viscerally experience his artful and spiritual message. Today, this remarkable creation, beloved by tourists and art lovers alike, is threatened by vandals and those who would see it disassembled - but Paradise Garden will continue to flourish in this remarkable and evocative volume.