Another lovely summer group show is just downstairs from
Arario Gallery. ClampArt’s iteration is a show entitled Arcadia, after the ancient Greek
province of the same name that evokes pastoral landscapes, dryads, nymphs, and
other spirits of nature. The show consists mostly of photographic works that
explore the notion paradise and includes works by James Bidgood, Aziz + Cucher,
Olaf Otto Becker, Stan Gaz, Karen Gunderson, Christopher Harris, Mark Jaremko,
Lori Nix, Arthur Tress, Stephen Wilkes, Frank Yamrus, and Marc Yankus.
The most compelling work in the show challenges the
boundaries between the fabricated world and the natural world, between perception
and reality by questioning the limits of form and material. For example, Lori
Nix’s photograph, Paradise (2004), constructs a kind of paradise that evokes a kind
of cheesy, child-like, 70s era fabrication of the good life in nature – a
waterfall surrounded by purple mountains underneath an orange and pink sky. The
photograph looks oddly Photoshopped, though the artist has fabricated the scene
in her studio. What could be taken
as digitized and manipulated is
quite real – real in the sense of existing of time and space, while what is
‘real’ alludes to something fantastical.
Another example is Karen Gunderson’s large scale black
paintings. Gunderson depicts natural landscapes entirely in black oil paint,
sculpting the paint into a lush and highly nuanced canvas. In First Steps,
the landscape is barely detectable as paint though Gunderson’s careful hand.
While the representational paintings are based on a real landscape, as
monochromatics they are almost abstract, and easily mistaken for a drawing or
etching if viewed from a distance.
Arcadia is a lovely summer show that brings together works that
evoke various kinds of paradise, both real and imagined.
Images: Lori Nix, Paradise, 2004; Karen Gunderson, First Steps, Shangri-La, 2005. Courtesy ClampArt.