The pandemic disrupted our way of life, but it also delivered us back to nature and the wilderness during a time of confinement. This month Oolite Arts
kicked off Natural Transcendence, a lens-based exhibition where artists focus on the many ways we have recalibrated our relationship with nature while being forced to stay home, away from public spaces and other people, causing a Natural Transcendence, and renewed sense of gratitude for the natural elements that surrounds us.
Curated by acclaimed filmmaker and video artist Rhonda Mitrani, Natural Transcendence features thought-provoking works by seven artists, providing new perspectives on the intersection between humanity and nature in domesticated landscapes, including parks, bodies of water, sidewalks and even their own backyard. The participating artists include Adler Guerrier, Megan McLarney, Colleen Plumb, Anastasia Samoylova, Jennifer Steinkamp, Wendy Wischer and Antonia Wright.
Im so grateful that Oolite Arts invited me to curate this show, Mitrani said. As we begin turning a corner, were going to become more involved in urban culture again and may visit nature less. These artists are bringing nature to life with their own narrative and aesthetic. This exhibition is a nod to the naturalists and Transcendentalists who have written, how in nature we feel a deeper connection to ourselves, to something spiritual.
Highlights from the group show include Plumbs playful photographs of her daughter lying in the grass, almost melting into the earth, and a ballet class held outdoors in water instead of a compact classroom. Both photographs evoke the artists childhood memories and are viewed in lightboxes. Digital artist Steinkamp showcases a video projection of individual trees with twirling branches inspired by an Islamic dance. Guerrier invites us to pace his yard during confinement and contemplate life in a poetic way. Samoylova offers a beautiful narrative on the dolphins that resurfaced in the canals of Venice in 2020 due to human inactivity via a vibrant collage of photos, and two of Wrights cyanotype photograms have been turned into enormous vinyls placed on the windows that face out to the pedestrian mall on Lincoln Road.
Mitrani adds, Perhaps we could consider natures fragility post pandemic since nature embraced us during a period of confinement. Hopefully this renewed relationship to nature resonates with us and that we make more effort for climate change, for our natural environment that is deteriorating in a slow boil.