Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present The Onrush of Scenery, a group exhibition featuring work by Leonardo Drew, Mitch Epstein, Marc Handelman, and Luiz Zerbini.
The Onrush of Scenery takes its title from a line in Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar:
I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
Nature has been an inspiration for artists of all manner since antiquity. The current exhibition features four gallery artists’ takes on this classic theme in a variety of mediums including sculpture, photography, painting, and work on paper.
Leonardo Drew is known for his abstract sculptural installations that incorporate a variety of materials, though he is best known for his inventive use of wood, a material that, even in its altered form, maintains a strong link to its natural source. This link is reinforced through visual references to tree and root-like forms found in many of Drew’s works since around 2007. Beyond the material and visual references, nature is also reflected in Drew’s philosophical understanding of his work, which he views to be a reflection of the cyclical nature of time, the continual processes of transformation, and the connectivity of all things, or as the artist has succinctly put it, “the nature of nature.”
A pioneer of fine art color photography in the 1970s, Mitch Epstein has focused his lens on nature on many occasions throughout his career, usually on landscapes that have been altered by human activity, such as in the series American Power, New York Arbor, or Rocks and Clouds, where he subverts the conventions of nature photography. The more pristine and fragile environment of the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington State is the subject of Epstein’s most recent body of work. These photographs were featured in The New York Times’ T Magazine November 12, 2017 issue, on the cover and accompanying an article about the silent solitude of the forest.
Marc Handelman's new hybrid-works on paper of the Cattleya labiata orchid explore the unique repetition of this motif in the work of 19th century artist Martin Johnson Heade. Continuing a long-standing critical interest in landscape and image culture, Handelman explores how Heade’s colonial project slides into a proliferation of differencing within the proposed.
Brazilian artist Luiz Zerbini's work is broadly inspired by his surroundings of his own studio and neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro as well as by his travels around the Brazilian coast. The current exhibition includes a selection of recent monotype prints made from impressions of the flora found near his studio.