Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gloom and doom

The CAC (Contemporary Art Center) in New Orleans is presenting a collection of mainly paintings, few installations and sculptures with nature as a theme, selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation.

The colorful display occupies the first and second level. Featuring numerous artists, the different style's works are of uneven quality. After walking through the exhibition, two thoughts came to mind. Digital photography has changed the vision of contemporary artists. The influence is overwhelming with painters like Torban Giehler with "Mont Blanc",2002, (link is to "Matterhorn", same technique), Jack Goldstein or Timothy Tompkins with his sculpture "Highway 89A". Integrating digital photography in the process of their works, the artists are transforming the landscapes into patchworks.

Another message from this exhibition is that nature is not a benign, nurturing mother earth. Nature is wild, scary. The background for the blue, white flowers is bloody red in "Klenator Draculas", 1977, from Billy Al Bengston, the sunset is cold-violet not warm-orange in "Vrindaban", 2003, from Andy Moses, twigs are dry, threatening.
Cindy Wright's butterfly is bringing bad omens. Where are the fruits, the green pastures, the calming scenes a la Corot?

The new paysagists are seing violence, destruction, gloom.
Are they predicting other disasters?

Are we still living in harmony with nature?

top photograph: view of the First Floor Gallery at the CAC
"Klenator Draculas", 1977, Billy Al Bengston
bottom photograph: Massoud Yasami "On the Edge #5", 1988

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