EAST VILLAGE — New Yorkers no longer have to go all the way to France to see the lush gardens that inspired Monet's water lily paintings.
"Giverny," a new exhibit that opened Friday at The Hole gallery on the Bowery, recreates the French impressionist's famous gardens, from the flower-strewn pond to the gracefully arcing bridge that crosses it.
The project — by artists E.V. Day and Kembra Pfahler — also adds a modern twist by displaying photographs Day took of Pfahler in the real Giverny gardens in France, wearing nothing but boots and bright pink body paint.
Sponsored by Playboy.com, the show is designed to evoke both science and sex by juxtaposing the serenely blooming plants with the raw power of Pfahler's neon nakedness, the gallery said.
The idea for the project came to Day when she recently spent time at Monet's Giverny estate on an artist residency. She was inspired by the fertile landscape and the way it is meticulously maintained, the contrast between the unruly natural world and the control imposed by humans.
From the moment visitors walk into The Hole's gallery, they are immersed in the sights and smells of the garden, from the grass that blankets the floor to the dozens of flowering plants that are now growing beside the pond.
"The poignant metaphor of the pruned and propped-up Mother Nature with the sexual yet terrible figure of Kembra naked is a rich juxtaposition that does not resolve into any fixed viewpoint," the gallery said in a statement.
"Giverny" runs through April 24 at The Hole, 312 Bowery, which is open Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.