Ruins, Mass Nudity, and Indoor Vistas: A Refreshing Summer Show
By JAN CASTRO, JUL. 2015
This visually engaging art employs strange points of view, stagings, and irony-laced versions of nature. Curator Paul Laster features one to five works each by Jude Broughan, Ernesto Caivano, Anthony Goicolea, Ellen Harvey, Jason Middlebrook, Donna Moylan and Spencer Tunick.
Goicolea’s art is full of surprises. Salt Shed, one of three stunning works, is an interior that telescopes toward and away from the viewer. The white landscape of salt piles inside a shed also looks like snowy hills indoors. The intricate images are painted and drawn on both sides of Mylar, and then mounted onto wood and varnished with a protective UV medium. Artificial Support System VII combines acrylic, ink, Mylar, board, and a sculpted “rock” base made of resin. The white plant on a dark background looks like a photo negative of a plant growing out of a rock.
Caivano’s small ink drawing Habitants is a philosophical panorama while Moylan’s three pieces meld abstraction and figuration with woodsy, floral notes. Harvey’s three ruins/landscapes are filled with mystery; some missing parts are marked with blank white circles or X’s. Picturesque Circle Maze juxtaposes an impossible landscape/perspective: a greenish earth maze with blue sky in its center and around its periphery. Harvey variously paints humorous commentaries on how art is perceived, such as these archeological spoofs. (Harvey’s solo exhibition at the Barnes Foundation opens September 19 in Philadelphia – 887 oil paintings of the metalwork in the Barnes collection.)
Nearby, Jason Middlebrook mimics and reworks nature in four geometric drawn and painted abstractions on maple and walnut, one with a steel base and white warbler. Tunick’s five photos of naked people in landscapes and as landscapes are exquisite in every sense. In Desert Spirits I (Nevada), people clad in transparent tunics at dusk convey being at one with nature and with one’s body. In each scene, the many nude people are tiny in scale, in harmony with each other and their surroundings. Brougham’s collages intermix fragments of photos, fabric scraps, transparencies, and other materials.
These art works variously embody a dialogue between landscape and abstraction. Overall, the combination of media and processes, the hints of blue sky, green nature, wood, and stone live up to the exhibition title. To experience your own, free weekend in the country, see this show (M-F, 10 am – 6 p.m.) before it closes on Friday, August 7th WM