May 3—June 30, 2012 in the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery Project Room
Curated by Andrea Packard

Birches Growing in Decayed Books, Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, 2009, digital chromogenic print scanned from film negative, 40 x 50 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

Structuring Nature features five outstanding contemporary artists— Orit Hofshi, Andrew Moore, Serena Perrone, Ben Peterson, and Randall Exon—who portray architectural structures that embody our interdependent and changing relationship to nature. Although diverse in style, these artists envision built and natural environments—some inviting and others forbidding—that challenge our notions about nature and culture. Featured works range from Randall Exon’s landscapes that both celebrate pastoral ways and signal their highly constructed order to Serena Perrone’s surreal and ironic images of idealized nature and childhood innocence amid reminders of a post-industrial world. Ben Peterson’s more fantastical drawings of improbable, absurd, or precarious structures analyze a completely fabricated environment, in which nature is barely discernable amid artificial constructs, from shipping containers to Astro-turf. Both the large-scale color photographs of Andrew Moore and the vast woodcut and mixed media landscapes of Orit Hofshi also emphasize the fragility of human structures but they also reveal evidence of enduring natural or human resilience, if only in creative and intrepid efforts to bear witness to loss. Portraying constructed environments, in which nature has been radically transformed through human interventions and human structures that have, in turn, been altered by forces of nature, the featured artists convey both psychological disquiet and the persistence of beauty in a constantly changing world. Sharing a high level of accomplishment and a commitment to craftsmanship they variously express their concern for the way the reshaping of the natural and built environment profoundly affect our imaginative elasticity. Their artworks often convey a sense of absence or loss, but they also invite us to recognize a resilient vitality in both nature and the transformative power of art.

View the exhibition catalog here (please be patient, as the file is large).