Landscape Biology

Natalie Cheung, Melissa Dickenson, Kim Manfredi, Katherine Mann

June 26-August 28, 2009

Through different methods each artist in this exhibition has created a landscape, but not in the traditional sense. These landscapes have their roots in the natural world, but do not present recognizable vistas.  The four artists are using biological forms – cells, galaxies, plants and animals – to inform and inspire their work. Natalie Cheung uses the photographic medium of cyanotype as a tool for creating a drawing.  Allowing the chemical process to act organically, the result is an image that can be looked at as both micro and macro – a tiny universe created on paper, or a small part of a much bigger picture. Kim Manfredi is also interested in the interplay between microcosms and macrocosms, and like Cheung’s cyanotypes, she surrenders some of her control to her medium.  

The biomorphic forms found in Manfredi’s paintings are created by pouring thick layers of paint and allowing the paint to move organically but in a controlled fashion. Katherine Mann’s paintings on paper utilize plant-like shapes and ambiguous natural forms to create a chaotic abstract landscape that spills off the edge of the artwork. Fantastical flora and fauna occupy the delicate and colorful terrain that Melissa Dickenson creates out of paper.  Her work reflects the protective nature that the natural world has historically provided to plants and animals. This protection is dwindling due to man’s depletion of natural resources. Each artwork exemplifies the controlled chaos that is also found in the natural landscape. Here, this control comes from the physical boundaries of the artwork. It gives the viewer a sense of something more, beyond what is depicted, and allows one’s imagination to play a role in the looking.