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June 30, 2020 @ 10:00 am - September 14, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
Fantastical Landscapes: Satellite Exhibition at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens
Fantastical Landscapes was conceived to highlight some of the more unusual artistic interpretations of the landscape that are part of the collection of The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve (AAWR), or in the case of the works by Ryn Clarke, on loan from AAWR member artists.
All of these artists explore the boundaries of this theme without sacrificing the basic structure of landscape in such a way that it becomes unclear to us, the viewer.
Harriet Ballard manipulates her landscape by flattening the perspective in her painting, Mooring, while at the same time we know this is a depiction of a sunny day by the water because of her use of bright yellow and sky blue as the predominant colors.
Photographers, Newsom Shewitz and Ryn Clark jumble reality by combining recognizable elements in a surreal or startling way. Shewitz was an early manipulator of photography to achieve these dreamlike results through traditional means, while Clark uses a computer to digitally combine and alter her photographs into tropical fantasies.
Tom Roese and Randall Tiedman both use colors in their paintings of trees that do not correspond with the reality of their subject matter but textural brushstrokes that do suggest both the tree bark and the kinetic energy flowing beneath the living bark. In contrast, Lawrence Baker, in his drawing of complex tree roots and rocks, removes all color as well as traditional chiaroscuro and texture in favor of the suggestion of volume through subtle line alone.
Robert Jergens employs a combination of realistic yet decorative pattern painting on an abstracted construction, to convey the idea of looking from an interior, through a window into nature. The result is that he removes us from nature by forcing us to think we are inside and then reconnecting us to the outside while keeping us fully aware of the artifice of painting.
Both Kathleen Totter and Jean Sommer abstract the landscape by reducing it down to the minimal elements of foreground and background, emphasizing strong horizon lines and geometric shapes and both use non-traditional materials like hand cast paper, felted wool and found objects.
I hope that this selection allows you as a viewer to engage your imagination and perhaps “see” the landscape as you visit the gardens here with a fresh appreciation for both the wonder of nature and the creative ability of the artist to reinterpret reality.
Mindy Tousley AAWR Executive Director
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