In a global world increasingly consumed with pressing issues of great importance and immense challenges, we turn to nature for solace and peace. Naturally, looking at the environment has its own form of critique and commentary, but beauty remains unmistakable. This show gathers artists who turn to the natural world for inspiration and subject matter. Each bring a unique approach and perspective to the world around us, imbued with history and a nod to the future.
Pamela Fraser is introduced to the gallery with a new group of botanical paintings and ceramics. This New England based artist explores color and design as a means to engage painting. She approaches her practice on a wholistic level that combines observation, tactility and intellect. Her paintings recall the luscious watercolors of Charles Burchfield and the designs of Josef Frank and William Morris wallpaper with a 21st century sensibility. The ceramics with their rich colors and geometric forms relate to her early abstract paintings. In all work we see the sumptuous appreciation of the natural world clearly organized and interpreted by the artist.
Originally from Tennessee, Fraser lives and works in Vermont. Her work has been widely exhibited with solo shows at the Blaffer Museum at The University of Houston, and gallery shows in Chicago, New York and Cologne. Her publications include: as writer of How Color Works: Color Theory in the 21st Century (Oxford, 2019) and as co-editor of Beyond Critique: Contemporary Art in Practice, Theory, and Instruction (Bloomsbury, 2017).
Robert Harms brings a new group of oil stick drawings to the exhibition that capture the light, the nature and the seasons of his home and studio in Southampton, New York. His brand of abstraction is akin to the work of Joan Mitchell, a friend of the artist as a young man. His paintings and works on paper have been described as ‘Rustic Lyricism’ by critic Robert Long and indeed capture the country air and landscape with its own beauty. His work has been compared to Fairfield Porter and Willem de Kooning by Henry Geldzahler among others in that it explores ‘a continuum between nature and art’.
Originally from New York, Harms’ work has been widely exhibited and is in numerous public collections including the Metropolitian Museum of Art. He has received several awards including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.
William Kortlander’s work addressed both the urban and the rural experiences. In these landscape paintings, the artist turns his attention to his surrounding Ohio hills and valleys. The legacy of color-field painting can be found in these compelling views. The changing landscape around the state with the development and growth over the past 40 years brings a new appreciation for the serenity of these pastoral settings.
William Kortlander (1925 – 2014) was an American artist and educator. Originally from Michigan, Kortlander was based in Athens, Ohio where he was a professor at Ohio University for more than 30 years. He achieved success with exhibitions in New York and was awarded the Mead Painting of the Year in the 1965 Art Across America Exhibition. Kortlander’s solo shows garnered favorable reviews by prominent New York critics Hilton Kramer and John Canaday.
Laura Larson is included with photographs from her recent series ‘City of Uncurable Women’. They are camouflaged in the suburban surroundings, seemingly awkward and resistant to their space. The artist confronts the supposed objectivity with photography and investigates feminist histories. Her skepticism and curiosity brings new questions to the relationships of women with their surroundings, both natural and societal.
Laura Larson’s work has been widely exhibited, including in shows at Art in General, Bronx Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has received numerous grants including the Ohio Arts Council and the New York Foundation of the Arts, also a fellow of residencies at MacDowell Colony, Santa Fe Art Institute and Ucross Foundation. Larson is based in Columbus and is a professor at Ohio University.
Rob Wynne is represented with a group of ‘bead drawings’ of creatures in the natural world. The artist hand sews beads onto vellum, leaving the threads visible through the translucent veil. The creatures – a copper ant, a grasshopper, a green snake and butterflies, all appear animated with the luminous reflection of the glass beads. Wynne mines history, including the botanical world to create a universe celebrating the smallest creature with his trademark exuberance.
New York based, Wynne has been exhibiting nationally and internationally for more than 3 decades. His work is in numerous public and private collections including the Columbus Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.