Cathy Ross, Fall Still Life, watercolour Herzl Kashetsky, Tree Roots, graphite
The natural world has been a significant theme for the making of art since humans first scratched the images of animals on cave walls. The approach to representing nature in art has changed, due to our increased access to more sophisticated materials and to our own changing relationship with the natural world. Our fascination with nature and with our own place within the natural world remains a preferential subject in art
Sitting in the gallery this afternoon, surrounded by so much good artwork, I’m struck by the diversity, of both form and content, as current artists engage with the natural world, using oils, watercolours, woodcuts, embroidery and found objects.
Herzl Kashetsky has come to know his world and his own place within it through his art. His focus on detail and his highly disciplined practice provide a meditative quality to his explorations of the natural world. The artist brings “a reverential attention to detail” (a quote from one of his sketchbooks), evident in his paintings and drawings of raindrops, tree roots and beachstones.
Herzl Kashetsky, Bird’s Nest, oil on panel
Janice Wright Cheney has set aside paint and pencils in favour of a textile-based practice. Her fascination with natural history is evident through work that engages with our perceptions of other species, encouraging the viewer to confront the ways in which we conceive of non-human nature. Work by Wright Cheney, currently on display at the gallery, examines the insect world through works involving embroidery and found objects. I am particularly fascinated with her Life Stages of a Silkworm Moth in which she creates an embroidered representation of the moth using the silk created by the insect itself.
Janice Wright Cheney, Life Cycle of a Silkworm Moth, sil embroidery, silkworm cocoons, found material
The art of David Umholtz explores our sense of place in nature, with a particular interest in those spaces where land and water intersect. His representation of nature has a highly symbolic quality, borrowing from the language of mapping and charting. While artists such as Herzl Kashetsky provide an intimate encounter with nature through highly realistic works, Umholtz allows us to discover a beauty, that while grounded in the real natural world, can only be attained through the process of abstraction.
David Umholtz, Fire in the Water, woodcut
David Umholtz, Underground Spring, woodcut
Cathy Ross arrived this week with new watercolours. Her meticulous and detailed still life works indicate an artist in full control of this rather unforgiving medium. Her paintings of arranged flowers and fruit have a complexity of design that is further challenged by her choice of backgrounds. Yet, to it she brings a wonderful sense of control and artistry, emphasizing the colours and textures of her subject.
Cathy Ross, Land of Hope, watercolour
It is a pleasure to experience the work of these artists whose practices have been formed through rigor and discipline, and whose works remind us of our complex and varied relationships with the natural world.