Fractured Earth

January 12 through February 20, 2011
Opening reception: January 12, 2011, 6-8

Fractured Earth . Image #9

Working with various techniques, approaches and materials, the artists on view all bring a sense of time to their compositions -- not the orderly progression of linear time, but a fragmented, displaced view of the temporal plane.  Spurred by influences as disparate as cubism and the modern urban landscape, these artists show space and time as refracted and fragmented through parallel shifts, multiple viewpoints, and roving eyes in a permanent state of transition. 


Theresa Hackett’s installations use the language of abstraction to dissect and reassemble landscapes.  Dispensing with the horizon -- that essential feature of orientation in a landscape -- she leads the viewer through complex meditations on the human interaction with time and space.  Despite the broken perspectives and disordered grids, her installations are infused with a sense of balance and play that only sometimes veers toward the chaotic.  Creating a dialectic between installation and painting, she is able to weave a broader, less referential interpretation of landscape. Her motifs depart from traditional depictions of scenery, buildings, or foliage, while incorporating features of the changing world that surrounds us: mimicry, duplication, camouflage, and illusion.  These elements suggest both the urban and the apocalyptic, tracing the thin line between order and chaos.


Nicola López also takes a distinctly contemporary approach to landscape.  While one of the aims of traditional landscape painting was to relax the eye and refresh the spirit, creating the illusion of a pleasant space for the mind to wander, López’s drawings and installations relentlessly examine -- sometimes even exaggerate -- the unsettling aspects of the modern cityscape.  López creates dizzyingly complex visions of an urban landscape gone mad, piled high with pipes, catwalks, beams, girders, and overpasses.  This is not the subtly romanticized vision of Sheeler or the Ashcan School, but there is a redemptive calm in her sprawling, broken grids and displaced or fractured skylines, if only the calm imposed by the limits of the composition’s edges. 


Lothar Osterburg works with a true photogravure technique -- in which an etched plate is created from a photographic image -- to capture miniature scenes he himself creates, often from found objects or common household materials.  He uses a magnifying lens to photograph the tiny scenes, lending a shifting, surreal, and unreliable sense that the scenes are full-scale.  Captured through the process of photogravure, the resulting images contain a rich range of tonal values from deep blacks to textured grays.  Using these effects in combination with the scratches and imperfections that result from the photogravure process, Osterburg achieves images that seem to hang suspended somewhere between fairy tale, gritty documentary, and the pleasant unreliability of dreams or memories. 

Multiple viewpoints and fragmented perspectives also inform the work of Fran Siegel, whereas traditional landscape painting attempted to capture the experience of a pleasant stroll on foot, Siegel takes into consideration the many ways that our modern eyes encounter the space around us -- from the air, from a map or photograph, or from the window of a car.   Working with patterns of light -- the common denominator of all visual experience -- Siegel gives us perspectives that are fragmented, imbalanced, transitory, and essentially impermanent.  Like López, she refuses to idealize the rootless distress of the modern urban experience, relying on the power of artistic practice to tame, capture, and begin to make sense of the chaos she depicts.