Mountain Fold is pleased to announce the opening of “Notes from Outside,” a show of work by Andrea Lilienthal and Alice Valenti. The work of both artists transports pieces of the forest indoors: the gallery becomes a study where experiences of the outdoors translate into visual exploration. Lilienthal and Valenti construct uncanny landscapes that simultaneously preserve familiarity by focusing on real structures and highlight strangeness when those elements from outside are situated in new contexts and in new dimensions.
Valenti’s art plays with the dichotomy of illusion and minimalism; her images mimic the appearance of reality but do not hide the artist’s hand. “Night Forest,” a series of colored ink drawings depicting the loci at which large tree trunks disappear into the earth, underlines the flatness of the paper’s surface by means of unpainted swatches, while also sustaining the illusion of the roundness and the texture of bark. “Three Tree Tops” presents as a beautifully crafted abstraction that recalls storm cloud formations, mountains under snow, wind upon a pond. That the image can be mapped onto a multitude of other earthly phenomena suggests a subtle yet ubiquitous natural rhythm.
The marks made by Lilienthal on natural materials in her sculptures and drawings are seemingly minimal. However, her severance of formerly connected bodies, their repositioning, and the artificiality of her paint colors reveal deep human intervention. “Conclave” and “Grove” both consist of arranged tree stumps, whose ends she has painted in concentric-rings that connote a target, and in fluorescent color blocks, respectively. The art has affected not only the cessation of growth, but has covered over all records of time. An imposed, regular geometry vies with the differing individual specimens that can be compartmentalized, yet not stripped entirely of their uniqueness.
Lilienthal and Valenti, collecting wood segments like souvenirs, set them as the foundation for drawings, paintings, sculpture and installation. Through their various representations of a common theme, they contemplate an endlessly changeable and changing pattern akin to that of the outdoors and the human relationship to the world outside.