Artists are exploring how we perceive the eroding boundaries between nature and the city in an age of environmental change, crisis and impact. Two winter exhibitions—Farewell, Eden and Urbanature—present works by urban artists who are seeking to define their relationship to nature.
Farewell, Eden, curated by L.A.-based artist/writer John David O’Brien at the Descanso Gardens’ Sturt Haaga Gallery in La Cañada Flintridge, is now open and continues through April 3. Urbanature, curated by L.A.-based artist and writer Constance Mallinson at ArtCenter College of Design’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery in Pasadena, opens on February 23 and continues through May 8.
The galleries will co-host a free, two-part public opening reception on Sunday, February 21, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Descanso Gardens located at 1418 Descanso Drive in La Cañada Flintridge; and then continuing from 4 p.m. through 6 p.m. at ArtCenter located at 1700 Lida Street in Pasadena.
Farewell, Eden includes work by artists Lynn Aldrich, Jane Brucker, Carlee Fernandez, Mark Steven Greenfield, Jennifer Gunlock, Dee Hibbert-Jones, Carmine Iannaccone, Gloria Kondrup, Aline Mare, Nadege Monchera, Elizabeth Saveri, Devon Tsuno and Amir Zaki.
Artists featured in Urbanature are China Adams, Elizabeth Bryant, Laura Cooper and Nick Taggart, Merion Estes, Nancy Evans, Brian Forrest, James Griffith, Constance Mallinson, Ross Rudel, Fran Siegel, Linda Stark, Coleen Sterritt and Don Suggs.
In association with both exhibitions, the public is invited to hear environmental activist, author and Occidental College professor Robert Gottlieb deliver a lecture on the subjects of nature-conscious city planning and a Los Angeles future with fewer cars, in the Ahmanson Auditorium at ArtCenter’s Hillside Campus on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 7 p.m. A reception and viewing of the Urbanature exhibit will follow in the Williamson Gallery.
ArtCenter’s Williamson Gallery is known for its exhibitions exploring the intersection of contemporary art, science and evolving perceptions of nature, while Descanso’s Sturt Haaga Gallery frames its botanical gardens as creative learning environments for deeper insights and sensitivities to the planet’s natural systems. Together, the two venues nestled in mountain terrain just four miles apart, comprise a tandem approach to how scientific knowledge and poetic appreciation can advance a critical understanding of the human-nature interrelationship.
For most of the world’s ever-growing human population, nature today is experienced within a new worldwide and human-made habitat of cities, suburbs, exurbs and infrastructure, all under relentless pressure from the byproducts of the human enterprise. Some argue that wilderness—“nature” in its most familiar form, pre-human and Edenic—is, in fact, gone forever from our earth. Yet nature persists, always adapting, appearing in new forms and unexpected ways.
Because older models are aligned with the dualisms that promote nature commodification and consumption, these newer representations eschew picturesque romantic pastoralism, deriving their images of the natural from a close involvement with their urban environs. They realize nature cannot be viewed in isolation from human wants, needs, activities and technologies, insisting on the fact that humans, even in sprawling cities like Los Angeles, are connected to a vast ecosystem.
Urbanature is made possible in part through the generosity of the Williamson Gallery Patrons and a grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance. Farewell, Eden is funded in part by Heather & Paul Haaga. Additional support for Sturt Haaga Gallery exhibitions are provided by Richard Carlson, Erin Maclean Culley and Wells Fargo.
To plan your visit, click here for gallery hours, driving directions and parking information.