Despite the installation's title, with its reference to Nineveh (an ancient and abandoned city near present-day Mosul, Iraq), Maker says the piece is about the Garden of Eden. "The expulsion from Paradise is an interesting idea to come out of," she says. The story is well known to us all: Adam and Eve live in the garden without any wants or desires, but face temptation, the forbidden fruit. Urged on by the serpent that symbolizes the Devil, Eve picks an apple and then has Adam take a bite of it. As a result, they are expelled by God and forced to toil the land, but all that grows are thorns and thistles.

This parable is the setup for the thorn wall, which is all about struggle. Across the bottom are panels with imagery that evokes a graveyard. Maker has embedded casts of human bones and skulls that suggest decomposing bodies. Around them are swirls of materials, including shredded paper money (acquired by the artist from the Federal Reserve) and shredded foil. Above are ten vertical shafts done in the cut-resin pieces; on them are hundreds of thorns, some of which have also been cast from resin, while the largest ones are done in vacuum-formed plastic. The audio recordings emanate from the hollow vacuum-formed horns, so that even though the shape of them would tend to repel viewers, the voices bring them in.

The honey wall also has a biblical origin, referring to the idea of the "land of milk and honey," and is about abundance. Maker has created an enormous honeycomb out of the sliced-resin panels.

Wall of thorns, from the Garden of Nineveh installation, by Terry Maker.
Wall of thorns, from the Garden of Nineveh installation, by Terry Maker.
The honeycomb wall, from Terry Maker's Garden of Nineveh.
The honeycomb wall, from Terry Maker's Garden of Nineveh.

On top, she has placed over-scaled drips in amber resin, evocative of drops of honey. The imagery is enhanced by Maker's use of bubble wrap submerged in the resin, which itself has a honeycomb pattern. Maker tells me that while she was making it, a real bee flew into it, and she believes the hapless insect mistook her piece for its home, which is bittersweet, just like her work.

As I finished my interview with Maker, she said she hoped that Garden of Nineveh held up to the Damien Hirst exhibit on view nearby. I think it does, and further believe that the two are complementary, since both are about our all too mortal reality.

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