The Evolve Urban Arts Project is pleased to announce the second of two exhibitions exploring the intersection between visual arts, architecture and nature. Nature Transforms features the work of painter Jessica van Brakle, photographer Wess Brown and a site-specific installation by mixed-media artist Alex Zealand.
With a nod to print and television media (Life After People; The World Without Us), Nature Transforms will examine the unique ways in which three Washington, DC-based artists explore the oppositional forces of the natural world and manmade architecture. The exhibition provides, through several artistic mediums, a view of what the urban landscape might look like if nature reasserted itself and claimed predominance over the land.
Jessica van Brakle's current body of paintings explores these opposing forces through slick use of geometric architectural patterns overlaid with a latticework of plant life and other natural materials. According to the artist, her work features, "the balancing of familiar opposites: feminine with masculine, strong with fragile, industrial with organic." In this exhibition's context, the paintings, replete with construction cranes intertwined with botanicals, provide a studied, yet slightly whimsical vision of how manmade objects and the natural world might interact absent human intervention. Van Brakle received a BFA from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in 2007.
Wess Brown gives us visual proof of these diametric forces at work in his documentary photographs of Washington, DC's old McMillan reservoir site. For the majority of the twentieth century, the McMillan reservoir served as the District's source of clean water. Shuttered in 1985, the concrete and brick structures have deteriorated, making way for grasses and trees to shape the landscape. Brown has a long-standing fascination with capturing architectural forms on film and here his black and white images capture the battle between forces of nature and manmade structures. Brown's straightforward style implies that, left unmolested, nature will continue to "take over" the old reservoir site. Brown's education in photography includes study at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and the Smithsonian Institution.
Alexandra Zealand's work is a study in the trans-formational use of found materials into "natural" forms which seek to overrun traditional borders and infest the gallery space. Zealand uses a variety of trash objects (burnt matches, grapefruit piths, used coffee filters) bound together to create ethereal sculptures noteworthy for their visually repetitive shapes. For Nature Transforms, Zealand is creating a site-specific installation that will inhabit the Project's main space and confront the viewer with an impression of what the Pierce school building would look like should it be left to battle nature on its own. Zealand received an MFA in sculpture from the Pratt Institute in 2003.
Nature Transforms will run through July 22.
The Project space is located in the Pierce School Lofts at 1375 Maryland Avenue, NE, in the H Street Arts and Entertainment District. Hours for the Project are:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 1-7pm Tuesday and Thursday: 1-4pm Saturday: 11am -2pm