From a historical perspective, landscape art has been seen as romantic; spurring the viewer onward, to go forth and explore wondrous destinations – places of awe and amazement. To the tourist or day to day resident, these locations have the power to awaken a sense of yearning for utopia, to be a part of an everyday ideal.
For my current series of work, I embarked on a virtual globe trek to several National Natural Landmarks spread throughout the United States using the Google Earth program. These sites contain outstanding biological and geological resources and should be preserved as part of America's natural heritage for future generations. In post-modern society, it is very common to experience and interact with reality in the virtual realm. By gazing far beyond the human eye's ability to see and tapping into technologically driven vantage points, it is possible to perceive the impossible and make the intangible - tangible.
Although my encaustic paintings are based on authentic locations, growths and appendages are added or erased just like nature is continuously growing and changing. Surroundings sag and sway, bump and bruise, leak and bleed, and permeate through layers of movement and exhaustion. Scientific snapshots take a turn toward the often imperfect, subjective human interpretation of reality in an attempt to render the continuous cycle of nature. The physical fluctuation of shadows and subtle contours coupled with the overlay of clear and concealed areas travel far beyond the original source, space and time, revealing moments that are both transitory and ephemeral just as nature is fragile and vulnerable yet exemplifies a duality of inner strength, adaptability and resiliency.
NIKKOLE HUSS is an American artist and Associate Professor of Art at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Illinois. The work featured in this exhibition was created as part of a faculty grant, Artist in Residence. Huss' recent solo shows include: July 2011 Artist of the Month curated by gallery director Laura Moriarty, R&F Handmade Paints, Kingston, NY; and Atmospheric Interventions, curated by Barbara Goebels-Cattaneo, Gallery Uno, Chicago, IL. In 2007, she was represented by ARTexhibitionLink in Berliner Liste '07 in Berlin, Germany and The Summer Show in Santa Severa, Italy. Her educational background consists of a B.S. Ed. from Northern Illinois University and an M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Additional information about the artist is featured on her blog: www.nikkolehuss.tumblr.com.