ELA WIMMER PCC
526 West 26 Street, NY NY 10001, # 310, Hours 12-6, T-S • Tel: 212.206.0006 • elgawimmer.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
“I wonder if our initial relationship to trees is aesthetic rather than scientific. When we come across a beautiful tree, it is an extraordinary thing.” — Francis Halle, Botanist
HUMAN NATURE: PEFKA & SYCAMORE
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 9 6-8 pm.
January 9 – February 1
Elga Wimmer PCC is pleased to present a one-person show by Mary Hrbacek, featuring new work consisting of drawings, paintings and painted drawings. Ms Hrbacek’s signature theme is focused on her unique depiction of trees, as they relate to the “human form in nature,” inhabiting the margin between figuration and abstraction. Her work calls into question the status quo in society that tends to view nature as a separate entity to be exploited instead of recognizing the inherent interconnectedness of living things.
This fascination with nature and transmuted natural forms has been explored by other artists in the past, most notably Dorothea Tanning and Georgia O’Keeffe. While Tanning took a more mythological approach, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cow’s Skull has a direct link to Hrbacek’s “Trapped Torso.” The latter depicts a “body” of a tree that is fenced in, as if preserved or protected. Hrbacek expresses these perimeters by situating her trees within the simple architectural boundaries of cafes or restaurants. She views their setting as being “embraced,” within limits, which parallels her life experience today.
The mythological themes of transformation in Hrbacek’s works, anchored in stories suffused with feelings of regeneration by Roman poet Ovid, suggest meanings such as the universal thirst for redemption. The Pefkas stand as mute witnesses to the influx of displaced persons who came to Greece following increased international conflicts. The trees stand as symbols of resistance in the face of climate change and political indifference.
The much more austere charcoal drawings on paper are made of compressed tree bark, which recalls muscles and flesh, the powerful forces of nature. Here too, vertical lines encase parts of the tree which interact with contrasting zones of shadow and light. The lines zoom in on twisted sections that seem to burst out of the frame.
The show culminates with the larger painted drawings, which offer a more abstract depiction of the tree. Ms Hrbacek applies a light hand across the canvas, and even though this work is acrylic on canvas, there is an element of drawing in play. The “bodies” of the trees seem ephemeral, shadow-like, and play beautifully with the light within a black and white ambience.