Opening On Earth Day

‘Beyond Sublime: Changing Nature’

The Walton Art Center’s Joy Pratt Markham Gallery has been closed for renovations, but will reopen April 22 with a group show, “Beyond Sublime: Changing Nature,” featuring the work of five internationally recognized artists — Emmet Gowin, Eileen Neff, Eric Aho, Paula Winokur and Stacy Levy.

Gowin has spent three decades exploring the changing landscape of the earth through aerial photographs. His nuanced silver gelatin prints depict the vast impact of strip mining, weapons testing, pivot irrigation, off-road motor traffic and other human interventions. His pictures convey disturbing realities about the scale of human impact upon our environment.

Neff is well known for her large-scale color photographs. She explores the interplay between nature and digital photography, computer software, cultural context and memory. Many of her images initially appear to be picturesque landscapes, but closer study reveals unexpected contradictions.

Aho has focused on painting nature from close observation. His paintings in the Beyond Sublime exhibit were inspired by the winter landscape in Vermont and the drama of forest fires. His work expresses man’s fascination with the wild forces in nature and the human desire for control. Ultimately, Aho’s images reflect not only human interventions in the environment, but the vital role of the environment in the imagination.

Winokur uses the delicacy of porcelain to explore natural change on a vast geological scale. Cliffs, ledges, crevices and canyons figure in both her small and large scale works. Suggesting the enormous effects of earthquakes, wind, glacial movement and other forces, her works also gracefully reveal their conceptual nature.

Levy’s sculpture and installations references often-unseen aspects of our natural environment and raises awareness of our symbiotic relationship to it. Recognized for her innovative site-specific installations investigating the relationship between built and natural forms, Levy’s work combines aspects of Earth Art, Process Art and practices of landscape reclamation with the aim of contributing to a more sustainable relationship with nature.

“Beyond Sublime” will be on display through May 20.

Categories: Features