Green Minds

8 September - 24 October 2022

Featured Artists: Benjamin Butler, Martyn Cross, Elliott Green, Megan Greene, Joshua Hagler, Jen Hitchings, Laura Lopez Balza, Rob Lyon, Gosia Machon, Michael McGrath, Holly Mills, Joan Nelson, Heidrun Rathgeb, Benjamin Turrell, Ping Zheng


"What you fear is an indication of what you seek."
Thomas Merton

Every landscape contains a hidden essence. To understand it, one must look closely, move beyond the surface, which is often merely a gateway suggestive of what might lie beyond. Because landscape painting lacks a pre-defined subject, walking through that gateway becomes a subjective experience, allowing us to fill the void with our own, personal narrative. Such is the journey of Lois, the protagonist in Margaret Atwood's short story, Death by Landscape, who is drawn into the paintings assembled on her living room wall, suspecting her missing childhood friend is hidden there.¹  In her imagining, the landscape itself is more than just a detailed repetition of what exists; it is a reflection of an inner state, of what we seek, fear, and desire.

Thus, not only the creation but also the contemplation of a landscape painting is a thoroughly personal, intimate process that requires an emotional interaction between creator and audience. The artist provides a melody; the viewer embeds that melody in a harmony and conjures the lyrics that imbue the composition with meaning. The emergence of this collaboration between artist and viewer can be traced back to the Romantic period (ca. 1790-1840). It is the point at which artists begin to explore subjective perception, not primarily concerned with depicting reality but rather evoking in viewers individual sensations and feelings.²  To do so, they invented and constructed imaginary panoramas and views that not only represented an ideal, but also triggered underlying emotions. It was the first time natural scenery did not serve as merely a backdrop, but became the central purpose of the painting.
The artists behind the Green Minds exhibition build on this conception of the landscape, drawing from their own imaginations to explore the possibilities - and limits - of its representation. Their works initially allow us to widen our gaze, to literally taken in an expanse. But the longer and more intensively we look, the more we realize that these landscapes serve as a bridge between the artist's imagination and our own, created to transport us to a place of our own making.

- Text by Nicola E. Petek