The delicate balances between human nature and Mother Nature have always been sources of inspiration found within the complex interrelations between art and nature. Synthesizing direct observation of the human form and landscape, figures within compositions interact, coexist, and fuse with their backgrounds. Highlighting the notion that landscapes are never purely nature, the following artists explore the interconnectivity of nature, humanity, and culture.
The space of a landscape exists, like almost every space, together with a variety of objects. What is fundamental for the experience of a landscape, however, is not the encounter of individual or multiple objects, but instead the experience of being under and amid all of these objects. Inspired by human dynamics, animal forms, and natural scenery, America Martin’s work reflects the appreciation of nature’s fleeting design. Concentrating on the human form, Martin makes a woman the main character of Woman and Desert Bird. Interested in the environment in which the figure is placed, Martin contorts the female figure with strong lines and bold shapes that push the boundaries of her canvas. As a result, the woman exists both amid, and in harmony, with the rest of the composition.
The space surrounding an artwork’s figure reshapes their environment and allows the viewer to perceive vulnerable beings amid a spatial occurrence. Creating a living space, photographer Brooke Shaden’s exploration of the literal and figurative space between illusion, perception, and identity questions how we, as viewers, give meaning to our experiences. Photographing isolated figures from an aerial perspective, her compositions offer a raw, voyeuristic glimpse of man’s relationship with nature and self.
Comprised of gestural brush strokes and juxtapositions of realism and abstraction, Turner’s paintings also experiment with spatial occurrence and the idea of figures within an active space. Captivated by human dynamics and their relation to their surroundings, he reveals the layers and intricacies of the human form and human character. Built up of many layers through a process of construction and destruction, a compelling image of a woman emerges from the atmospheric, white backdrop. Blending the figure and background into one, Turner’s painting is a direct result of inspired storytelling and technique.
Navigating the ideas of expanse and location, Danny Galieote’s figures are treated with the same importance and visual prioritization as the towels and beach that they lay on. Rendered in conte and gouache, his study fully presents his formal and thematic concerns. Dramatizing perspective and contrast, the intensity of his vision draws us in to the rich and complexly portrayed snapshot. Fully immersing his figures and their setting into one unified portrait, Galieote’s paintings are suffused with an atmosphere at once dark, yet strangely sweet.