Art Center showcases contemporary landscapes via juried exhibit
Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2019
By KATE SNYDER
Art Center of the Bluegrass
You might not immediately identify the artwork currently on display at the Art Center of the Bluegrass as “landscapes” — and that is exactly the point, according to Exhibitions Director Brandon Long.
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Now in its 10th year, the annual “Horizon: Contemporary Landscape,” a national juried exhibit, challenges the conventions of landscape art, pushing the genre in new and unexpected directions.
Long says, “We interpret the term ‘landscape’ very loosely in this exhibit. We have some pieces on display that could easily be a representation of something under a microscope or an image of outer space. It’s always interesting to see what twists the artists might put into their work.”
The exhibit features pieces by 20 artists and showcases a wide range of artistic mediums, adding depth and interest to the viewing experience. Photography, painting, printmaking, glasswork, metalwork, and fiber art are all represented in this year’s show.
Artist Diana Ball uses a wet wool technique in her attempt to capture nature’s beauty. She says, “This piece is designed to capture a view through the summer trees in the Frog Hollow and will, hopefully, give the observer the impression of a summer twilight in a very peaceful setting.”
Lynette Haggbloom of Bowling Green uses fused glass with very thin silver, pieces of glass frit, stringers and powders to “represent the landscape of our galaxy, whether on a celestial body above or right here on earth.”
Long says that many of the artists in the 2019 Horizon have exhibited work in previous shows, even though the exhibit juror doesn’t get to see a history of who has exhibited in previous iterations of the exhibit. “It is rewarding for these artists to see that their work stands up to a variety of jurors.”
One returning artist is Robin Gibson of State College, PA, whose stunning color reduction woodcut took first prize for the exhibit in 2017. This year, Gibson again delivers are masterful piece – a large woodcut that plays with light and shadows. She says, “The single most compelling and recurrent idea that has permeated my work over the past several years is that of rhythmic change—growth and decay, light and shadow, occurrence and recurrence, advance and retreat, rise and fall, ebb and flow.”
The independent juror for the 2019 exhibit was Daniel Graham, professor of art at Georgetown College.
Graham says, “Within a contemporary context, clearly defining what constitutes a landscape is a complicated endeavor. I prefer to leave it as a soft and partially developed image/definition. Landscape speaks of place-making, memory, experience, perspective and self-reflection. The works selected for this exhibition all explore to some part of these elements.”
Beyond the sheer beauty of landscape artwork, Long says that landscape artwork also plays an important role in documenting changes to the natural world.
“The concept of landscape is ever-changing, both in terms of what it looks like and how we think about it,” and points to a photograph of an iceberg by Thomas Pickarski as an example, Long says. “You probably wouldn’t have seen this piece in our show ten years ago, because melting icecaps weren’t being talked about as much as they are now.”
Louisville artist Corie Neumayer also addresses the theme of climate change in an abstract painting included in the show. “The threat of losing our beautiful landscapes due to global warming, greed and climate change is a horror,” says Neumayer. “Maybe that is what keeps me wandering and painting what I see in the countryside.”
IF YOU GO
“The Horizon: Contemporary Landscape” exhibit is on display through Friday, Nov. 1. There is no admission fee and exhibit hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. The Art Center will host a public Gallery Talk on Thursday, Oct. 24, with remarks by artists Debra Guess and Steve Heine. This behind-the-scenes look at the exhibit is free and open to the public.