Powerful Exhibition at Steve Turner Gallery: Force of Nature
Through May 12
By Genie Davis
At Steve Turner Gallery through May 12th, Force of Nature is a group show that evocatively represents current social, political and environmental issues through the landscape of nature itself. From climate change to social media, the topics conveyed by the six international artists in the exhibition are potently of the moment. And while the topics are politically charged, the thrust of Force of Nature is the exhibition’s fresh take on landscape.
The artists include Los Angeles-based Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio, Nick, Farhi, and John Knuth as well as the work of Paris-based artists Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion, Lukas Marxt from Cologne, and New York-based Glen Baldridge.
Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio creates large, beautiful rubber castings that represent trees. As the artist says, these are “neither the original tree itself nor a simulacrum of it…a liminal space…created at the moment of peeling.” He speaks of discarding subtlety to embrace “environmental justice strategies.” The artist uses rubber to create rich works that impart the surface image of urban trees. Essentially creating a life mask of these surfaces, he includes graffiti and decay; beautiful and thought provoking, the scarred surfaces are elegant and elegiac. “N. Ave. 66 and Crescent St., Los Angeles, California” resembles a warrior tree, its graffiti markings like tattoos; the tree image in “12th St. and Westlake Ave., Los Angeles, California” evokes comparison to tribal markings, with a grand, expansive shape. The palettes vary, but are somehow muted and lush, tributes to the trees themselves.
Glen Baldridge uses a vibrant palette working in acrylic on panel. His works here include verbiage which he’s nearly hidden within his work, like code words. “Wait What” is a mesmerizing sea of zig-zag shapes, a television screen gone haywire; “Dark Days” vibrates with lavender at its center, like electricity underwater.
The collaborative duo of Émilie Brout and Maxime Marion offer three perfect, miniature oil paintings depicting scenes of nature painted on smart phones to resemble Instagram posts. The phones are on, illuminating the paintings. It’s a perfect amalgam of nature and technology; an image of how we see the world today, our art fused with our consumption of social media. The artists seem to posit the idea that if we are aware of the natural world, it is through the devices that separate us from it.
Nick Fahri’s oil on canvas works feature brilliantly colored, fierce desert scenes. As if cast in perpetual sunset, images such as “Calle de las Flores” are starkly beautiful and surreal in hue.
John Knuth has chosen mountains over desert as his landscape Using UV film and staples on acrylic on canvas on panel, Knuth depicts craggy peaks and craters. The medium is shiny and attractive, a crow’s eye view of landscape. Using “unnatural” materials to create natural scenes creates a dialog between man’s work and nature’s majesty in a quilt-like composition.
Marxt offers a stunning video project created using a drone. Here, the length of an irrigation canal in the desert is both geometric and sculptural, the images he depicts could be something created by alien beings, or a haunting look at what man carves from nature.
Taken as a whole the exhibit is an elegy for nature that is also an all-too-unrealized elegy for mankind. It is also a powerful tour de force that encompasses man, nature, and our perhaps irreconcilable differences with great beauty and eloquence.
Steve Turner Gallery
6830 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90038
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 11am–6pm,
or by appointment