Franklin Parrasch Gallery is pleased to announce The Natural, a group exhibition focused on conflict and coalescence in the natural world in relation to human history. Deriving its title from the 1987 sculpture by Ken Price, The Natural includes sculpture, painting, and works on paper by eight artists of varied generations spanning from the Vietnam War era to the present, including Richard Artschwager, Vija Celmins, Jane Corrigan, Jesse Mockrin, Ken Price, Eleanor Ray, Serban Savu, and H.C. Westermann.
The natural world is a force of incomprehensible allure that engages us with both its undeniable, pre-human, ancient existence and its inevitable fragility. The mere act of a landscape being viewed, imagined, or depicted by an artist is, in and of itself, an element of tension in the ongoing conflict between nature and human development. Contemplation of all living forms from the dawn of cognizance to the present is engaged by each artist in this exhibition, all of who directly and indirectly reflect upon their own position within this continuum.
It is less with a sense of wonderment than a sense of incredulity that the challenge of the natural world figures into the confrontational scenario of H.C. Westermann’s drawing, Kenny Calls This A Florida Palm—? (1969), which depicts a pair of sharks encroaching on a flooded palm tree. Price’s The Natural, a vibrantly painted core sample-like object, distinctly punctuated by a deep black cavity, alludes to the artist’s extensive fascination with subterranean life forms: something not known, but only possibly found in nature. Eleanor Ray mutes the viewer’s perception of human intervention altogether in Wyoming Snow (2018) and Ridgeline Before Dawn (2018), metaphorically observing the balance of power between the environment and its inhabitants. Jesse Mockrin’s 2019 painting Snatch draws the viewer to examine the power structure between human and animal, rife with the plain violence of domestication’s incessant prohibition of animal instincts.
Just as the interactions of all forms create perpetual reactions, the impulses with which nature has informed these artists are evident in the materialization of their creative thought. An element within a landscape or natural setting, for example, may trigger an artist’s gesture or aesthetic decision which itself might also be articulated in that artist’s response. What each of the artists in this show is focused upon – from every leaf of moss, to each ripple reflecting on an ocean surface, to every striating ring in a hewn slab of pine, however subtle or distinct – are the influences their subjects present and how those influences in turn facilitate other influences, altering the course of evolution.
This exhibition is dedicated to the life and art of Madeline Parrasch, and to the immeasurable influences she had on the minds of the many she encountered.
The Natural will be on view at Franklin Parrasch Gallery, 53 E 64th Street, New York, NY, from January 31—March 23, 2019. For images, biography, and further information, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 212-246-5360 during business hours: 10a-6p, Tuesday-Saturday.