Nature Morte

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Nature Morte
Curated by: Chip Tom

346 North Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651-1628
May 10th, 2008 - July 6th, 2008
Opening: May 10th, 2008 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Other (outside main areas)
(949) 494-8200


Rohrer Fine Art presents Nature Morte/Dead Nature: a group exhibition of contemporary artists Ori Gersht, Penelope Gottlieb, Kaoru Mansour, Melvin Martinez, Christina Lei Rodriguez, Andrew Taylor and Timothy Tompkins. A special opening reception with the artists will take place on Saturday, May 10th from 6-8 p.m. The exhibition runs through July 5th.


The works in Nature Morte/Dead Nature will explore our disregard of nature using various interpretations of the traditional still life genre.  In 1952, Charles Sterling, an expert on Nature Morte paintings at the Louvre Museum in Paris, described Nature Morte paintings as something born when an artist makes a conscious decision to choose a subject and organize it as such so that he may then intimately observe and express its essence inspired by the artist’s intent to capture its inherent beauty, but that in inserting his own perception upon the natural existence of his subject, the artist indeed kills its very purity.  Nature Morte/Dead Nature investigates the concept of capturing the splendor of nature’s beauty at the moment of perfection. In creating these works of art, the object of beauty must be killed to preserve its image. The subtext asks us “How long can we continue this plunder?”


Through the eyes of these artists the exhibition presents six viewpoints on the disharmony of man and nature:


Captured at the moment of explosion, Ori Gersht’s photographs of beautiful bouquets examine the fragility of nature as it simultaneously entrances the viewer with its impermanency.


In Penelope Gottlieb’s series Gone, she considers the vanishing of plant species and the ecological and biological ramifications. She denotes this through exploding bouquets of vividly painted flowers and stems that denote the gorgeousness of botanical life simultaneously with the violence of extinction. 


In Kaoru Mansour’s densely layered panels, we see flowers, stems, and other organic forms embedded as solitary and perfect beacons to nature’s impermanence; captured and memorialized by encaustic like fossils amongst great panoramas of richly textured scenic beauty. With added drawings and markings to enhance her specimens, she in turn creates new forms of organic life that become life giving and whimsical. 


In Puerto Rican artist Melvin Martinez’s impressionistic paintings, he contrasts nature’s frailty with garish colors of Marti Gras.  His textural canvases reveal nostalgic layers of memories found in objects such beads, glitter and cake decorations.


Christina Lei Rodriguez’s sculptural representations of botanical chaos bring to mind the wildness of nature that threatens to pervade yet remains fragile and nest like. Controlled assemblages of organics and plastics provoke a visual explosion of over the top vegetation threatening to break free from its roots yet forever confined as a glorified still life.


Andrew Taylor’s work contains glimpses of subjects that are elusive and elastic; small fleeting moments in nature that the artist attempts to capture slowly—stretching his point of obsession into beautiful, luminous and celebratory paintings.


Timothy Tompkins’ paintings depict the events and aftermath of California wildfires. Referencing the painterly concepts of the sublime and picturesque, the paintings deny the glorification of nature by their inherent violence. The artist uses media images as a source and extends the life of his subject through maximum emotional impact with a minimum content.


Rohrer Fine Art presents and promotes a global spectrum of art and design in a unique format highlighting rare and breathtaking art of the last 2000 years.  The gallery is located at 346 North Coast Highway in Laguna Beach and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.  For more information, please call 1-800-949-5211.