Since her last exhibition at Craig Krull Gallery in 2010, Astrid Preston's work has traveled further than during any other period in her career. Entitled, New Territory, these paintings on wood and linen are influenced by traditional Japanese painting, as well as that culture's reverence of Nature. Using an analogy of ceramics, she calls it a shift from refined porcelain to raku. Whereas her previous work focused on the construction of mazes, topiaries and infinitely complex geometries of leaves and branches, Preston's new work opts for a more organic interaction with natural forces. Many of the paintings are on raw wood panels, and Preston allows those patterns of wood growth to suggest directions for her paint and compositions. Sometimes she applies washes of thin paint, letting the wood grain become ripples on the surface of water. In the painting, Thirsty Sun, a palette knife is boldly employed to create a thick, deeply textured reflection, thus evoking a more visceral tangibility of light. In this way, Preston's response to nature combines both Eastern and Western traditions. Her awareness of natural patterns is akin to a finely raked rock garden, while her Expressionist materialization of sensibility is as fundamental as Adolph Gottlieb's sun and ground abstractions.