Surreal Sublime: Contemporary Landscapes
June 22, 2019 – September 15, 2019
Surreal Sublime features artists who create abstract and dreamlike interpretations of natural landscapes.
Landscape Art as a historical genre is rooted in the capture of nature through representation, imagination, and emotion. Introduced in the 18th century, the “sublime” was a category of landscape painting described as leaving one with a feeling of both pleasure and fear of the overpowering qualities of nature. The artists in Surreal Sublime continue the tradition of the sublime landscape with abstracted, exaggerated, and dreamlike interpretations of nature. Working in a variety of media, from painting and photography to sculpture and installation art, the works capture a range of emotions, teetering between the natural and synthetic, seductive and dangerous, calm and chaotic. While the vast beauty of nature draws the viewer in, themes of darkness and turbulence run throughout the work in this exhibition.
Dark emotions are evident in East Bay artist Mary Anne Kluth’s installation, which presents a foreboding depiction of nature as a metaphor for the turbulence of our current political climate. With narratives referencing helplessness, loneliness, hopefulness, and friendship, nature acts as a conduit to escape overwhelming feelings of stress in painter Seonna Hong’s landscapes. Cheyenne Woodward’s haunting tableaux explore memory, solitude, and serenity within decay.
Elliott Green’s abstracted landscapes are bold, expressive depictions of panoramic vistas. The vivid and colorful layers of thick paint in Karla Wozniak’s work explore nature through the lens of the electric, overabundant, and hallucinatory. Justin Lovato also transforms landscapes into optic vibrations in his intricate drawings and paintings. Vanessa Marsh’s monochromatic works layer natural and manmade landscapes with starry skies to create eerily still compositions.
Works from Terri Loewenthal’s Psychescape series, including a site-specific wallpaper installation, meld together psyche and landscape. Liz Hickok’s photographs and videos capture the miniature landscapes she creates with overgrown crystal formations, appearing as a chemically toxic environment. Brooks Salzwedel’s crystalized miniature landscapes and his works on mylar reveal a haunted, otherworldly nature.
Visitors can sit on a throne made of decomposing and overgrown nightmarish plant life by Attaboy. Surreal Sublime culminates with an installation of glow-in-the-dark paintings along with a projection and audio piece by Kate Shaw.
Surreal Sublime is supported in part by the Members of the ICA.
Participating artists: Attaboy (Richmond, CA), Elliott Green (New York, NY), Liz Hickok (San Francisco, CA), Seonna Hong (Los Angeles, CA), Mary Anne Kluth (Concord, CA), Justin Lovato (Seabeck, WA), Terri Loewenthal (Oakland CA), Vanessa Marsh (San Francisco, CA), Brooks Salzwedel (Los Angeles, CA), Kate Shaw (Melbourne, Australia), Cheyenne Woodward (Palo Alto, CA), and Karla Wozniak (Alameda, CA).