Thirteen American artists employing a variety of media and stylistic approaches have contributed to a new landscape exhibition at the Denver Art Museum.
The exhibition, "Landscape as Metaphor: Visions of America in the Late Twentieth Century," is on view through Sept. 11. It will open at the Columbus Museum of Art on Oct. 16.The display features large-scale commissioned works by Mel Chin, Richard Misrach, Alison Saar, Mark Tansey, Meg Webster and eight other artists.
As environmental concerns have begun to modify American attitudes toward land and space that were formed during the 19th century, landscape art, a persistent theme in art history, has experienced a resurgence.
Picking up on this trend, the Denver exhibition addresses psychological, social and technological concerns that affect contemporary perceptions of the land.
Saar's male and female personages rise like primal figures from a tangle of roots in a rigid pose that suggests dependence on the Earth for physical and spiritual survival.
Addressing a similar theme but with very different materials, Webster transformed a quarter acre of the museum's front yard into a micro-landscape of hillocks and ponds that explores the relationship of humans to nature's complex systems.
In a series of photographs of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, Misrach captures images that ironically portray the ethos of the old and new West. What appear to be idyllic visions of nature are actually statements on the destruction of the land.
"Landscape as Metaphor" began as the inaugural exhibition for the new American Center building in Paris. When budget problems prevented it from being shown in France, it became a joint project of the Denver Art Museum and the Columbus Museum of Art, both of which were scheduled to present it after Paris.
"Landscape as Metaphor" is on display at the Denver Art Museum through Sept. 11. 303-640-2793.