Natural Histories

Sept. 10 – Nov. 8, 2009

Central Booking is pleased to announce the first in its series of exhibitions in Gallery II where art explores science. The inaugural exhibition, Natural Histories, traces a range of artistic responses to an ever changing external and internal environment, touching on the mere presence of human intervention. The gallery is transformed into an evocative space that creates its own natural habitat from the elements of each artist’s personal response to their concept of nature.

Judy Hoffman, whose leaf-like formed paper book works can be seen in Gallery I, creates an installation of found materials mostly organic with a contamination of inorganic materials that “grows” out of the ground and walls to invade the space. The Swedish artist Leonard Forslund contributes a unique book whose textural pages beckons to be touched, unlike his more typically formal work. And we know how in Ana Mendieta’s work her own body became inextricably intertwined with the natural world; here in a rarely exhibited artist’s book she focuses on her etchings. Steven Daiber has long been dealing with the rawness of nature and the objects of rural life. “wrapped” in the symbols of human intellectual life. The artist team of Doug Baulos and Janice Kluge utilize the pages of a book folding them into something akin to a weather vane, allowing one to question juxtapositions within it’s subjective framework.

Holly Sears beautifully seen natural forms exist in a tranquil yet subtly ominous world where all is not quite right. Cosme Herrera interprets formal landscape tableau within the confines of his inlaid wooden mythologies. Josh Willis’s seemingly bucolic miniatures are whole environments in themselves but seen together create a dreamlike world. Robin Holder utilizes her stencil process in a layering and building of forms in deep rich colors that vibrate in her small scenarios. We find the quirky insects of the German silkscreen partnership of Helga Eilts & Jule Rump on various surprising surfaces. Julie A. McConnell’s stereoscopes of the great outdoors evoke a simpler time yet the viewer becomes a voyeur as we are inserted into the images. Sara Garden Armstrong multi-layered litorals are a graceful play of ebb and flow undulating and teeming under intense pressures of primordial states. The softly transparent cloth of Desirée Alvarez juxtaposes the bold drawn imagery with the delicacy of the fabric.

Mary Frank has long explored the natural world in her work and the human place within it.Tina Flau who is fascinated by her own garden in the outskirts of Berlin, uses a native historical German text on natural history as the impetus for her artist’s book, with each illustration becoming its own printed plate. Antonia Contro’s digitally printed collages selected from her collaborative encyclopedia were inspired by the floral and fauna of Cape Cod.Donna Maria de Creeft‘s images collaged from text become incorporated into a series of flags and Michelle Wilson‘s text becomes the soil for her plant as it actually grows between the bindings of a book.

Tammy Wofsey truly wishes the human form into a tree with her stark and almost life sized woodcut. Scandinavian Amina Bech‘s perfunctory studies of tree structures as other worldly places through the use of the tondo seem somewhat clinical in their formality. The photographs of the young German artist Sandra Hartleb of trees in the night creates her own haunting interpretation of a similar subject. The strongly graphic collaged prints of Martin Mazorra reflect human social mores echoed in the aviary world. The seemingly innocuous proliferation of butterflies by Sabra Booth contains the disturbing subtext of their exploding male population In central Texas, while April Vollmer’s painted creatures foreshadow her print work as they ominously fly out of the sky at us in their amoral quest to survive.

Gerhard Mantz, of Berlin, with his computer generated digital prints that mimic painting, resonate with images of an uninhabited planet erupted in its hot and cold extremes. Based on scientific analysis, Heidi Neilson in both her own work and her collaborative effort with the Weather Station project interprets cool data in a highly conceptual yet still visually stimulating way. Chris Jordan documents more directly 6 days of a New York sky in his time lapse video taken from a Chinatown fire escape. The Austrian artist Elisabeth Wörndl plays with the forms of the human brain and their similarities to the clouds in the sky, as she playfully melds them together.

Zane Berzina insists we examine the physical world close-up, thereby drawing us into a totally encompassing specimen placed within small boxes as Travis Childers invites the viewer into a world that seems at once familiar in his use of known domestic and household products, yet relies heavily on our feelings of displacement.

View exhibition map and list of works as PDF