Kolman & Pryor Gallery is pleased to present, Landscape: Natural Fit, Imagined Prospects, an exhibition curated to explore traditional, abstract, and mixed-media explorations of landscape as genre, place, and possibility. Co-curated by gallery co-owner, Anita Sue Kolman, and gallery artist, Jil Evans, the exhibition runs through April 21. An artist reception will be held on Saturday, March 24, 7-9 p.m. During the reception, the gallery will celebrate its fifth anniversary as Kolman & Pryor Gallery.
The gallery will also host a free panel discussion entitled, Landscape: What Is It and Does It Shape Us?, on Wednesday, April 18, 7-9 p.m. Facilitator, Sally Johnson, Director, Groveland Gallery, and panelists, Christopher Atkins, Kolman & Pryor Gallery Artist, and Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs, Minnesota Museum of American Art; Betsy Ruth Byers, Kolman & Pryor Gallery Artist, and Associate Professor, Gustavus Adolphus College; Shannon Estlund, Artist, and Adjunct Instructor, Macalester College and Augsburg University; and Diane Hellekson, Landscape Architect and Writer; will explore questions raised by the exhibit such as what is a landscape, why is artwork that is inspired by the landscape so popular, how does the landscape shapes us, and how do we shape the landscape.
Because seven of Kolman & Pryor’s nine gallery artists were eager to participate in an exhibition focused on landscape, says Kolman, curating the show was not only a “natural fit” for the gallery, but also indicates that “landscape is a compelling and relevant topic for these artists.” The show includes works by Christopher Atkins (photography), Betsy Ruth Byers (painting), Jil Evans (painting), Patrick K. Pryor (painting), Jodi Reeb (painting), Danny Saathoff (sculpture), and Cameron Zebrun (sculpture).
In addition, two guest artists whose work addresses the representative with a singular sense of materiality were invited to join the exhibition. Sophia Heymans’ work combines a variety of media including, acrylic, oil, paper mâché, pine needles, ashes, dryer lint, string, and prairie grass seeds. Shannon Estlund creates paintings in which she incorporates both natural and manmade materials.
“Landscape has very different functions in each of the artists’ work,” says Evans, whose own paintings abstract imagery from the natural world into sophisticated, highly intelligent compositions of sensation, line, and form. Atkins and Estlund “bring a more conceptual approach” to their work, Evans continues, while Byers’ paintings “have been focused on landscapes disappearing and the memories that remain.” In Reeb’s encaustic paintings, landscape is treated as metaphor. Pryor’s acrylic and graphite pieces encompass mark-making, and digital and urban mapping processes, resulting in strata that simultaneously bury and reveal.
“Landscape in art is a legitimate category or genre, but it’s also a construct,” Evans says. “When an artist is working with landscape, whether with concrete or abstracted imagery, or when used to depict inner states of mind or emotion, the viewer becomes part of the work and integral to the exploration of what’s being depicted or constructed.”
The diversity of expression in the show, Kolman adds, “reflects our decision to leave the definition of landscape open to the artists, as well as to the guests who visit the gallery to see the work. Not only do we hope people will approach the work with an open mind, but also ask themselves why they’re attracted to landscape and what the word, as well as the artistic genre, means to them.”