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Landscape artworks reference not only the sublimely pastoral, but also the distortion of changing conditions and reactions to events.
The Janet Turner Print Museum’s first exhibition of the 2013-14 season — Landscape as Metaphor: From Arcadia to Dystopia — explores the spiritual uses of land and also demonstrates its evocative power to represent human experience.
Landscape as Metaphor takes place August 26-September 21 in the Turner Print Museum Gallery, located in CSU, Chico’s Meriam Library. A curator’s talk and reception at the gallery takes place Thursday, August 29 beginning at 5:30 p.m.
“Landscape is an enduring subject for artists,” said Turner Print Museum curator Catherine Sullivan. “When creating a landscape work artists often express the sublime beauty of nature. However, landscape works can also metaphorically express personal vision, changing conditions and relationships, as well as control, power and human impact.”
Sullivan, along with co-curator Ann Martin, lecturer in CSU, Chico’s Geography and Planning Department, selected works for this exhibition from The Turner’s 3500-plus print archive that expressed the metaphorical attributes of the definition “to carry over” and “transfer.”
The exhibition will feature a variety of printmaking techniques and artistic styles. Former student and now professional artist Waif Mullins’ “Bidwell Park” is sure to attract park lovers. Noted French/Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki gives nature abstract power with his almost Sumi brushstrokes, while Giovanni Piranesi’s large etching “Antiquities of Cor” depicts rock solid fortifications hewn from hillsides.
“The word ‘landscape’ is in a sense a metaphor — a computer choice is made for a vertical ‘portrait’ or horizontal ‘landscape,’” said Sullivan. “How the artist shows his or her reaction to the subject is often also seen in the construct itself — where is the horizon line, the level of activity expressed above or below the line, amount of space allocated, and how either color or lack of contributes to evocative power.”
Sullivan and Martin have selected works for the exhibition that shine a spotlight on several different print techniques
“Our exhibitions generally are not limited to one printmaking technique, but may feature one primarily,” noted Sullivan. “This allows the viewer an opportunity to see the variety within a specific technique as well as comparison to others. In the case of Landscape as Metaphor the viewer will be able to see how screen-printed images contrast with the more linear intaglio works and the atmospheric aquatints.”
Sullivan said this particular exhibition will explore preconceived notions of what a landscape work should look like and what the viewer perceives.
“Landscape as a subject matter is one that has a common denominator — we all experience it in our sense of place. This is an opportunity to experience an expansion of the familiar as well as to discover how landscape shapes or reflects a personal artistic vision. It is also an opportunity to confront a personal sense of the impact of landscape as metaphor, personal reaction, memory and place.”
During the exhibition the lobby of the Turner Print Museum Gallery will feature this year’s Turner Prize print acquisition — “Last Night/New Dawn,” a large scale color intaglio print by internationally known Nigerian/British artist Chris Ofili and printed by Catherine Brooks at Crown Point Press, San Francisco. The Turner Prize is an artwork purchased by the Museum, with funding by its Board of Directors, that honors a local person who has a history of contribution to the arts.
Landscape print works will also be displayed in cases in CSU, Chico’s Ayres Hall. Additionally, there will be a selection from another new acquisition portfolio — “Contemporary Navigators.” This selection will include prints by Eileen Macdonald, CSU, Chico Professor of Art (printmaking) and Megan Moore, former Chico State MFA-printmaking candidate and current faculty member at University of South Alabama, Mobile.
The Turner Print Museum is located in CSU, Chico’s Meriam Library and is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during exhibition dates.
More information can be found online at The Turner’s website, www.janetturner.org. If you have a specific question about the exhibition or Turner Museum, please call 530-898-4476 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The website also has information for schools and groups wanting to book docent-lead tours.