Artwork based on nature can take many forms and serve many purposes. Opening our eyes to the intricacy and beauty of the natural world the following artists, Deborah Brisker Burk, Jean-Francois Debongnie, Hunter Hogan, and Craig Schaffer, examine the beauty of nature in an abstract representation through two mediums; sculpture and painting.
Deborah Brisker Burk's process begins with an idea or reaction to a feeling, culled from experiences, or a response to a visual in her mind. Throughout the process, she checks to see if the work is reflecting her selected intention. Often, working on several bodies of work concurrently, her various series of work influence and inform each other; often they cross-pollinate. Burk's work is made up of mixed media paint, Caran d’Ache, oil pastel, charcoal, pure pigment and sometimes includes collage.
A self-taught artist, Jean-Francois Debongnie works exclusively in water-based acrylic and Chinese ink. His paintings have explored visual representations of navigation between the West where he was born and the East he called home for over two decades. Debongnie’s canvases are the beneficiaries of a rich heritage of history transplanted into the modern world where they thrive. Debongnie’s harmonizing touch gives his works their enduring beauty, allowing him to paint traditional botanical scenes with traditional materials in a contemporary style. Debongnie understands each flower as both an iconographic floral signature that expresses essential qualities rather than a precise botanical representation and as one character in the landscape, he invites the viewer to explore.
Hunter Hogan began her career as a tapestry weaver, and the influence of this experience on her colorful canvases is evident. Hunter understands painting as a literal weaving together of layers of paint. Giving her works a poignant depth and resonance for the viewer, as though the painting is a foggily remembered landscape that lurks layers below the canvas’ surface. Her paintings use nature as a point of departure for romantic meditations, recollections, and explorations of color, line, pattern, and shape. Hunter’s paintings establish a rhythm and flow that create an atmosphere distinct from the surrounding world— escapism grounded in the primal realities of nature.
Inspired by the infinitely repetitive building blocks of all elements of life, Craig Schaffer's Welded Fractal Series explores the shapes created by the stems and leaves of plants as they reach for the light, the convoluted unfurling of clouds, the formation, and fracturing of mountains, and the jaggedness of the coastline as it kisses the sea. Real life is nonlinear and reflective, so the spiraled paths carved in our consciousness by these natural processes are mirrored in Schaffer's work. His sculptures are dynamic and powerful meditations on the reality of repetition in nature and life. The series was featured in the Morgan Stanley Garden at the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.