Contemporary art practice is filled with warnings against and samplings of our presumptuous, dangerous relationship with nature. The exhibition features a blend of photographic, sculptural and installation works by seven 1st and 2nd year MFA students from University of California, Riverside.
Gideon Barnett, Alia Malley and Evans Wittenberg create photographs referencing the origin of the world by expressing an impermanent relationship between man versus nature with visuals depicting terror of the sublime or structural collapse by natural disaster.
Christine Frerichs and Courtney Oquist craft paintings focusing on the experience of nostalgia and an investigation into man’s relationship to the complex environment.
Kate McPeak and Alison Walker create installation art that is built from readymade objects taken out of their natural environment. McPeak’s work features an upturned raft as both a physical and metaphorical image that presupposes the viewer as just beneath the surface, unable to right the raft. Walker builds her installation from pool slides fashioned together and dominating as a sculpture in the gallery. Her work plays on viewer perception, objects that are undeniable in their origin yet nothing like what they are supposed to be.
“Artists like these could be considered journalists of the spirit, formulating visual op-ed pieces out of their ineffable, otherwise inexpressible sense of the rightness and wrongness of the world,” says RAM Senior Curator, Peter Frank. “Whether it documents natural or human destruction, proposes natural or human solutions, finds evidence of natural-human symbiosis or symbolizes natural-human conflict, the artwork of UC Riverside’s graduating MFA candidates reflects their almost allergic sensitivity to the relationship of their species to the ecosphere.”