Madelyn Jordon Fine Art is please to present STAGING NATURE: A WORLD UNTO ITSELF, a group exhibition of modern and contemporary landscape paintings, works on paper, photography, and sculpture by a diverse group of 12 artists. Selected artists include Milton Avery, Gregory Crewdson, Katharine Dufault, Purdy Eaton, Abigail Goldman, Elissa Gore, Adam Handler, Larry Horowitz, Wolf Kahn, Sandrine Kern, Yangyang Pan, and Susan Wides. The exhibition will run from March 29 – May 11, 2019, with an opening reception on Friday, March 29, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The public is welcome.
Our natural environment has been a source of inspiration and art making for millenia. This exhibition presents artists whose fresh approaches to a time-honored subject present the natural world in their work as a means to communicate and address environmental, cultural, and aesthetic perspectives. The artwork presented may be copied from reality with varying degrees of accuracy or entirely imaginary but a common thread is a reverence for the natural world and our place in it. From the picturesque, tranquil countryside, unspoiled wilderness, and wild coastlines to the domestic terrain of suburbia, these landscape works capture the essence of place in a moment of time and are able to evoke the sound and smell of its subject, not just the sight.
Milton Avery and Wolf Kahn take a distinctive modernist view of traditional landscape. Among the most prominent American artists of the 20th century, Milton Avery’s work is clearly representational yet is not concerned with creating the illusion of depth or faithful to reality. For example, in ‘Small Trees, Big Mountains,’ Avery renders a Vermont scene in multiple tones of blacks, grays, and whites, imbuing the painting with a sense of quiet isolation. Wolf Kahn, revered for his combination of Realism and Color Field, works mainly in pastel and oil paint. Known for vivid and intensely colored scenes of Vermont, Kahn handles the subject with an appealing spontaneity that keeps his compositions fresh.
Gregory Crewdson and Abigail Goldman create imaginary, narrative suburban landscapes as settings for sculptures and photographs with disturbing, surreal events. Goldman’s ‘dieoramas’ are absurdly cute miniature domestic scenes that depict macabre spectacles of mayhem and murder. Likewise, photographer Gregory Crewdson is best known for staging complex, cinematic scenes to dramatic effect. The two works featured, from ‘Natural Wonder’, have a mysterious quality, focusing on wildlife forced to the edges of suburbia. In one work a small animal den has been constructed with lush floras and fauna where a small group of woodland creatures seem to cohabitate. In the second image, a newly built cape cod style home encroaches upon a forest that is pictured in the foreground.
Larry Horowitz and Elissa Gore are traditional, plein-air artists who are informed by environmental concerns. As a former apprentice for renowned painter Wolf Kahn, Larry Horowitz’s landscape paintings incorporate bold color and a reliance on modernist form. His profound connection to the land accounts for the emotional impact of his work. Says Horowitz, “I paint the vanishing American landscape, which is disappearing as we speak.” Likewise, Elissa Gore is inspired by the Hudson River School ethos of painting, an idealized portrayal of nature. Surrounding the viewer with atmosphere that reflects a transcendental idea of the sublime, Gore’s ultimate aim is to remind us of the importance and necessity of protecting America’s natural beauty.
Purdy Eaton looks to the American landscape and sees a different environment – a contemporary world slowly encroaching upon rural areas and farms. In ‘The Coming Storm’, Purdy Eaton recreates American painter George Inness’s famous painting of the same name, updating the scene to the present, with graffiti on the rocks and a collaged group of happily grazing cows in the foreground. The classic scene is infused with the artist’s ironic sense of humor.
Yangyang Pan, Sandrine Kern and Katharine Dufault present the natural world with an intuitive rather than literal interpretation. Yangyang Pan’s love of flowers is central to her work. Applying expressive gestural brush strokes, her opulent, abstracted, garden-scapes reveal the contrasts she finds in nature. Sandrine Kern places importance on the mood of each work, highlighting surface luminosity through a high contrast color palette. The highly suggestive representation of each natural element is devoid of details, instead preferring to convey their essence. Katharine Dufault has created a new cubist vocabulary with discrete areas of saturated, opaque color juxtaposed with loosely painted areas of transparent color. The artist’s landscape compositions are primarily inspired by the view outside her studio window.
Susan Wides specializes in urban and landscape photography. Susan Wides’s photographs convey the experience of not merely being in a place, but of immersing oneself deeply in nature, almost as a sensory experience. The artist adopts a transformative vision of our natural and urban environments expressing her conceptual and intuitive responses to our relationship with a site. Wides’ photographs rely on light and time in order to dissolve, intensify, and filter our visualization of a place.
Adam Handler’s faux naïve style of painting is anarchistic, savvy and worldly at the same time. Doing away with perspective and proportion, he opts for bold, loud colors and exaggerated forms. His canvases are vigorously painted with frenetic, thick jagged brush strokes, giving his work a hurried, improvisational style. Handlerincorporates natural elements, i.e. tulips, sun, trees, as narrative or decorative elements in his paintings.