Messages from the Urban Garden

Radio Porcupine Star

Anyone who loves gardening or photography are in for a fabulous treat during November, when visiting the Neuberger Gallery, located within Image City Photography Gallery. Messages from the Urban Garden is a collection of photos created by Michael Tomb and Marcia Zach of Intimate details of flowers and vegetables have been lovingly and creatively captured by Michael and Marcia throughout their exhibit.

Much of their lives as a married couple is performance art centered around the garden. That’s because within the urban garden, they see visions of the future possibility of an environmental responsible “Ecotopia.” As a result, they photograph this vision by composing organic collages made from things they grow as well as found objects such as stones and bark. They photograph these subjects “en plein air” in their garden, using only natural light. Even as they choose varieties to grow, they fantasize about compositions and recipes that will incorporate them. Then they use this homegrown palette for art that extends their garden into the future and out to the stars. In this show, they have picked from a wide range of styles such as fantasies of “Petal Pointillism” and astronomically inspired “Celestial Vegetables” as well as still life depictions of favorite varieties of vegetables and flowers.

Storm of Leo

Michael explains that each photo shown in this collection has its own special place in their catalog and in their hearts. For example, their first date took place under the Perseid Meteor Shower of 1985. Later, both of them were awestruck when witnessing the great Leonid Meteor Storm of 2001. On the 20th anniversary of that spectacular show, together, they composed their tribute entitled Storm of Leo.

Twilight #12

The longer one stares at Marcia’s Twilight #12, the strategic placement of the various plants leads the viewer to endless possibilities. It has a singular shimmering radiance beyond the words that might describe it. Perhaps when starting at the top of the image, one might imagine a surreal sun setting against the background of a late summer sky, and as the eye travels down toward the bottom, the night slips into twilight as the sky provides an ambient deep bluish purple illumination. 

Michael explains that just as we need the gardens of the planet for basic sustenance, we also need hope to sustain the soul, and we need goals to accompany those hopes. Art can be the window into a future where both goals and hope reside. Michael and Marcia hope that their photos “add to the reverence our viewers might already have for the world’s sacred green spaces, including the possibilities within everyone’s backyard or sunny window.”

Michael’s connection to the garden and art is told in his short film City of Gardens, which can be viewed here: After that film was made, Marcia retired and joined Michael while inventing her own technique of “Petal Pointillism.” She added another layer to their artistic vision of organic collage. Michael says, “Making art together with the one you love is highly recommended!”

Marcia Creating Rubinato
Michael with Radio Porcupine Star

In addition to their current exhibit at Image City Photography Gallery, Marcia and Michael’s photos can be seen on most First Fridays or by appointment in their studio at 137 East Avenue.

Additional ways to view their work include the following:




5 responses to “Messages from the Urban Garden”

  1. An excellent insight to the creative process of this wonderful couple. Loved the “City of Gardens” video.

    • Hi Joanne! If you haven’t seen the exhibit and still plan to visit, let us know and perhaps we can join you at the gallery (and for maybe lunch or dinner too?) Michael

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