The Reality of Nature as an environmental macrocosm is not always the nurturing, restorative, spiritual, user-friendly place one imagines; nor is it the heroic antidote to civilization as fetishized by our self-critical, urbane society. Nature is not only mankind’s victim but also its source and master. It is full of wonder. It loves its children but also takes revenge.
This group of 13 artists working in painting, photography, drawing, as well as quasi-sculptural and saliently hybrid mediums, each uses both experience and concept to explore the conflicts and confluences between what we want and what we have when it comes to living in a world the belongs to both Man and Nature.
For curator Kristine Schomaker, landscape and metaphor is an infinitely expandable continuum, which as this diverse group of artists demonstrates, is vast enough to encompass a range of materials, styles and techniques from evocative total abstraction to narrative and conceptual pictorialism. In that conceptual and art historical context, The Reality of Nature reflects the complexities and contradictions not only of our mythological relationship to the natural world but of our actual existence within it.
Where many seek out and embrace the enduring beauty, majesty and intimate details in the forms of its flora and fauna, its skies, ice, storms, and sunsets, others take an approach of critique and caution, using industrial materials or depicting the dire consequences of humanity’s subjugation of nature. With motifs culled from sources in architecture and wilderness, science and science fiction, resource scarcity, pollution, evolution, tenacious adaptation, and sublime phenomenology, this timely, even urgent, exhibition uses visual art’s capacity for resolving paradoxes and imaging the impossible to demonstrate frameworks for changing the adversarial dynamic to one of cooperation and humility. Ultimately, a battle against nature is not only one mankind cannot truly win, but one not at all worth waging.
Participating Artists: Andrea Bersaglieri,Catherine Ruane, Constance Mallinson, Devon Tsuno, Erika Lizée, Jeanne Dunn, Jennifer Gunlock, JJ L’Heureux, Marie Thibeault, Samantha Fields, Steve Seleska, Terry Arena, Virginia Katz