The Nature of Things, curated by Virginia Katz and Constance Mallinson
Ruth Bachofner Gallery is pleased to present “The Nature of Things”, a group exhibition curated by Virginia Katz and Constance Mallinson, opening July 21, 2012.
Landscape painting and photography have always been “the barometer of anxieties over the balance of power between nature and culture”. Much traditional landscape imagery has focused on Romantic, escapist picture making and that paradigm has now been commercially co-opted and implicated in nature commodification, contributing to deforestation, rampant development and pollution.
The nine contemporary Los Angeles artists featured in the exhibition “The Nature of Things” are exploring the reassessment and redefinition of the natural at the beginning of the 21st century. These artists eschew older models of picturesque pastoralism or Arcadian retreats and derive their images from a deep involvement with their urban environments and the culture itself. Their role in transforming our perceptions of nature lies in exposing the conflicting assumptions, anxieties, and tensions over the intersections of urbanity and nature.
All of the artists embrace the importance of locality, with nature described as it is discovered in their immediate environment. Whether botanical studies or collages, interpretations of the recent natural and manmade sublime, depictions of the interpenetration of nature and humans, or examinations of the cultural structures and methodologies by which nature is represented today, their varying approaches acknowledge a loss of an idealized past while seeking to express the complexities of the natural world in the present. With each of these artists, the beauty of natural form is paramount but held in precarious balance with the human-made.