Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present The Onrush of Scenery, a group exhibition featuring work by Leonardo Drew, Mitch Epstein, Marc Handelman, and Luiz Zerbini.
The Onrush of Scenery takes its title from a line in Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar:
I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
Nature has been an inspiration for artists of all manner since antiquity. The current exhibition features four gallery artists’ takes on this classic theme in a variety of mediums including sculpture, photography, painting, and work on paper.
Leonardo Drew is known for his abstract sculptural installations that incorporate a variety of materials, though he is best known for his inventive use of wood, a material that, even in its altered form, maintains a strong link to its natural source. This link is reinforced through visual references to tree and root-like forms found in many of Drew’s works since around 2007. Beyond the material and visual references, nature is also reflected in Drew’s philosophical understanding of his work, which he views to be a reflection of the cyclical nature of time, the continual processes of transformation, and the connectivity of all things, or as the artist has succinctly put it, “the nature of nature.”
A pioneer of fine art color photography in the 1970s, Mitch Epstein has focused his lens on nature on many occasions throughout his career, usually on landscapes that have been altered by human activity, such as in the series American Power, New York Arbor, or Rocks and Clouds, where he subverts the conventions of nature photography. The more pristine and fragile environment of the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington State is the subject of Epstein’s most recent body of work. These photographs were featured in The New York Times’ T Magazine November 12, 2017 issue, on the cover and accompanying an article about the silent solitude of the forest.
Marc Handelman's new hybrid-works on paper of the Cattleya labiata orchid explore the unique repetition of this motif in the work of 19th century artist Martin Johnson Heade. Continuing a long-standing critical interest in landscape and image culture, Handelman explores how Heade’s colonial project slides into a proliferation of differencing within the proposed.
Brazilian artist Luiz Zerbini's work is broadly inspired by his surroundings of his own studio and neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro as well as by his travels around the Brazilian coast. The current exhibition includes a selection of recent monotype prints made from impressions of the flora found near his studio.
Leonardo Drew was born in 1961 in Tallahassee, Florida, and he grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His natural talent and passion for art was recognized at an early age, first exhibiting his work at the age of 13. He went on to attend the Parsons School of Design and received his BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and art in 1985. Drew’s work is included in many institutional collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; and Tate, London. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Born in 1952 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, Epstein lives and works in New York City. He has won numerous awards, including the Prix Pictet Photography Prize (2010); the Berlin Prize in Arts and Letters (2008); and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003). His work has been exhibited and published extensively in the United States and Europe. His twelve books include the forthcoming Rocks and Clouds (2018); New York Arbor (2013); Berlin (2011); American Power (2009); Mitch Epstein: Work (2006); Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988 (2005); and Family Business (2003), which won the 2004 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award.
Marc Handelman was born in 1975 in Santa Clara, California. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design earning a BFA in Painting in 1998 with a concentration in Art History. In 2003, he graduated from the MFA program at Columbia University. He has exhibited throughout the United States as well as internationally. Handelman is a faculty member at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Luiz Zerbini, born in São Paulo in 1959 and currently lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. In 1982, Zerbini graduated with a fine arts degree from Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado in São Paulo. He has been the subject of major mid-career surveys at Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro (2014); Instituto Inhotim, Minas Gerais (2013); and Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (2012). He represented Brazil at notable international biennales including the São Paulo Biennial (2010 and 1987); Bienal do Mercosul (2001); Bienal de La Habana (2000); and the Bienal Internacional de Cuenca (1996).