Groveland Gallery is pleased to present a unique exhibition of paintings, prints and sculpture by three Minnesota artists. Inspired by elements of the landscape – both natural and urban – artists Abigail Woods Anderson, Clara Ueland and Cynthia Rae Levine
seek to cultivate a balance between representation and abstraction. Their title is based on an excerpt from John Muir’s journals: “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forested wilderness.” This passage echoes the shared artistic approach of Anderson, Ueland and Levine: their art-making is defined by their conceptual processes, resulting in a compatibility of subject-matter, light-filled and detailed compositions, and simple yet sophisticated forms.
Science continues to inform Abigail Woods Anderson’s
paintings and prints. Her most recent collection of compositions are inspired by the affects of Dutch Elm Disease on the shady boulevard near her childhood home in Minneapolis. Using tracings from the stumps leftover from the impact of the disease, as well as scientific knowledge of the boring beetle that carries the fungus from tree to tree, Anderson has created paintings that pay homage to the trees, while drawing attention to their urban demise. The artist explains: “these paintings are embellished with patterns derived from the elm tree’s natural history and Dutch Elm’s Disease’s pathology. I scavenged and restyled images from botanical illustrations and figures, entomology databases, micrographs, and art history, especially landscape paintings and studies by John Constable. The resulting works are a meditation on ecology, contemplating the entangled fates of four organisms: the elm tree, the beetle, the fungus, and humans.”
Drawn largely to the theme of water of in the landscape, printmaker Clara Ueland
travels throughout northern Minnesota – and especially to Lake Superior – seeking inspiration for her compositions. Ueland photographs the landscape, using the images as a reference for her subjects: rough rocks rising out of a lake, the water pink from a sunset’s reflection; lily pads dancing among murky waters; a trail of swirling, moonlight-dappled waves weaving between reeds. Ueland’s waterscapes carry a planar, graphic quality seemingly reminiscent of 19th century Japanese woodblock prints; while this is unintentional, Ueland’s approach to her imagery results in a similar aesthetic. The artist explains: “I try to strike a balance between eye and mind, between representation and abstraction, between the demands of the subject and the demands of the pictorial space – bringing outer and inner worlds together through the medium of art. I would like my work to reflect the beauty, unity and balance of the natural world.”
St. Paul artist Cynthia Rae Levine,
a recent MSAB fellow, began taking classes at Northern Clay Center in 1993. Since then, she has cultivated an aesthetic of elegant, ceramic sculptures that are inspired by the intersection of the natural and manmade worlds – from seed pods and shells to alleyways and stairwells, Levine simplifies their basic shapes and applies them to her non-functional sculptural forms. Her sensitively rendered geometric sculptures, softened by their earthy palettes and luscious curves, create an interplay of positive and negative spaces. The artist explains: “For some time, the primary focus of my work has been the coil built vessel. The vessel provides me with a container through which I can examine the ways in which space can be used or conformed by my hand and the clay to create sensations of ease or tension, expansion or confinement, or two other opposing forces in one form. The manner in which planes and lines come together or move apart, separate or integrate, enclose or liberate the space within and around a vessel supply me with a continuing source of ideas that I can apply to my work in clay.”
The artists will be present at the opening reception on Friday, June 1 from 5-8 p.m. This exhibition runs concurrently with Here & There,
an exhibition of new paintings by Thomas Paquette in the main gallery.