Within our lifetime, our understanding of the relationship of people to the environment has changed dramatically. The Variegated Landscape, curated by Eric LoPresti, showcases six contemporary artists: Paul Whiting, Peter Rostovsky, Steve Robinson, Mary Mattingly, and collaborative artist pair Melissa Dubbin & Aaron Davidson. While each artist in The Variegated Landscape is unique, together their works constitute a reflection on the contemporary landscape, a place where history, nature, architecture and technology are fused.
Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson present a conceptual drawing in which composite images have been burned into a drywall support. The images include historical photos of WW1 gas attacks and smokescreen tests, stitched together to form a continuous horizon.
Steve Robinson’s paintings are based on images of Scholar’s Rocks – naturally occurring stones appreciated by Chinese philosophers for their aesthetic representation of nature. Robinson digitally manipulates the images before meticulously hand-producing them in acrylic, bringing a layer of artistic meditation and distance to the historical subjects.
Sculptor and photographer Mary Mattingly imagines a post-apocalyptic world where the landscape has become inhospitable to humans. In her installed sculpture `Advanced Forestry’, trees are genetically crossed with cell phone towers in a futuristic example of technology gone astray.
Expanding on the theme of architecture, the imagery of Paul Whiting’s large abstract paintings suggest roads, buildings, sunlight and electrical towers. Executed with latex and spray paint, Writing’s paintings incorporate features of the natural and built environments into a contemporary urban aesthetic.
Peter Rostovsky’s photorealist landscape paintings suggest that the transcendent experience of nature, as exemplified by the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, is no longer directly accessible to us. In this exhibition, Rostovsky challenges the viewer to stare directly into an image of the sun.
About the Curator:
Eric LoPresti is a Brooklyn-based painter who takes a pluralistic approach to his artwork. His current series of conceptually based paintings investigates the landscape, and incorporates themes drawn from science, philosophy, and the study of color vision (two drawings related to these paintings were shown at Like the Spice this summer). LoPresti was the winner of the Miami Young Painters prize in 2005 and author of “Photo-Based Painting 2006,” published in Zing Magazine.