Second NatureApril 10 - May 3, 2002
Lucile BertrandEllen CampbellPeter GouldSandra HirshkowitzMarietta HofererKathy LevineJanet PihlbladJack PospisilRobert ResslerJanet SoderbergIlene Sunshine
Nature is a concept both familiar and inclusive, that may be omitted from an artist's work only by a conscious and studious effort. Even the most casual stroll through the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will lead a visitor to image upon image inspired by what anyone can easily recognize as nature. In the art of most cultures nature takes a secondary but prevalent role in representations of myth and social convention. It is usually there in some form or another.
As the twentieth century unfolded Western Art's view of nature turned sharply inward. Explorations into consciousness via Surrealism, Expressionism, and ultimately abstraction led to a progressively widening gap between Modern art and nature as a subject. With a few notable exceptions like Robert Smithson, the late twentieth century avant-garde had little use for the contemplation of nature, relying mostly on media-spawned imagery, culturally distanced several layers below its source. Art itself became a species of growth needing a controlled environment of artificial light and unblemished white walls to better sustain its own history and material existence. Now as the new century opens and Modernism has exhausted that part of its program that has provided artists with as many ways to approach a subject as their mind's eye can envision, some artists are returning to a reflection of the teeming life around them.
As conceived, this exhibit does not attend to any specific formal conventions or techniques. It is truly a product of natural inclusiveness. Through methods that include drawing, painting, growing, sewing, sawing, printing, photographing, drilling, carving, building and hanging, these eleven artists have turned their eyes and hands back to nature, specifically nature in a contemporary urban environment. Trees are everywhere. Natural materials dominate. But as a testament of Modernism’s legacy, a human presence makes itself known throughout-not simply by the self-evident claim of authorship, but in the underlying concept of each work.
Second Nature has been organized by CAIRN, City Artists in Response to Nature. CAIRN is a group of visual artists who explore their individual and collective human need to connect with the natural world in a contemporary way. CAIRN believes that we need art forms that examine and define our interdependent relationship with nature and heal the separation that most people feel today. Coincidentally, the acronym of the name, CAIRN, is a large stone or pyramid of stones used by Druids to mark their sacred high places. Like these ancient people, City Artists in Response to Nature recognize the sanctity of the natural world and leave their art as markers.
Exhibition checklistLucile BertrandMigration ... imagefeathers, wire, spoons, nylon thread 1999Ellen CampbellXT-GL ... imagecrayon on paper 1991Peter Gould68A sharon, 68 Sharon, 66 Sharon ...aluminum, paint 2002Sandra HirshkowitzBloom ... imageorchids, embroidery hoops, paper, metallic thread 2000Marietta HofererAlgae Series ...Xerox transfer 1997Kathy LevineRooted ... imageoil paint, photo transfer, hand-made cast paper 2002Janet PihlbladWindow (#3) ... imagemoss, wood 2001Jack PospisilFetish Object ... imagewood, glue, drywall screws 2002Robert ResslerHydra ... imageoak, paint 2002Janet SoderbergAttachement ... imageC-prints 2000-2002Ilene SunshineC.T. #12 ...Christmas tree, plasti-dip, wire terminals 2001