Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Nature Lab: an homage to the RISD Nature Lab and its founder, Edna Lawrence Curated by Eric Wolf at LABspace

LABspace presents “The Nature Lab,” an exhibition of contemporary work by 92 artists opening on Saturday, February 17th with an artists’ reception from 2-5 and running through March 17th. LABspace is located at 2462 NY Rt 23 in Hillsdale, NY. The exhibition will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and by appointment via email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The selections for this show describe and represent nature in widely varying ways.  The curator, Eric Wolf, a painter and designer who graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and is now based in New York’s  Hudson Valley, has assembled a group of artists, including several alumni, in a salon-style installation that is richly colored, textured and patterned, much like the feeling of RISD’s extraordinary and unique facility.

The RISD Nature Lab is itself the creative work of the late artist and faculty member Edna W. Lawrence.  Begun in 1937, it has evolved and expanded in the 80 years since.  Part museum of natural history and part lending library of specimens of every sort, the Lab gives artists across the school’s disciplines access to and direct contact with nature’s extraordinary wonders.

Wolf has gathered pieces by artists across a wide spectrum of media.  This includes painting, drawing, sculpture, video, installation, photography, and even writing, with the inclusion of a poem entitled Snow by Geoffrey Young.  A catalog is in the works, designed by the writer and book designer Jonathan Lippincott, with an essay by artist and writer Patrick Neal, and another essay by Neal Overstrom, the Lab’s director.

Artworks include Joshua Marsh’s meticulously crafted pencil drawing of acorns, Julie Evans’ paint and pencil evocation of the microscopic world of primordial organisms, Elena Sisto’s ecstatic flying bumble bees, Zachary Keeting’s splashing abstraction that appears to reference the surface of a turbulent sun, and Francis Cape’s wry and elegant hand carved wood cabinet door, which refers to the banks of cabinets that hold many of the Lab’s treasures.

RISD Nature Lab director, zoologist Neal Overstrom, has continued the development and growth of this important and iconic institution in significant ways.  High-tech microscopes, a big new green wall, and an array of saltwater aquariums are some of the latest additions he has introduced. Overstrom has also gained the attention of and funding from the National Science Foundation.

Wolf writes “The RISD Lab is a model of what every art school, if not every school everywhere, ought to have in an age when students and people in general are unable to shift the focus from their electronic screens.  Nature has the unique ability to bring people back to their primal senses and awaken the curiosity that seems already plentiful in the minds and hands of artists here.”

The Nature Lab will include works by:

Shimon ATTIE Carol BETSCH Ricky BOSCARINO Loren BRITTON Francis CAPE JoAnne CARSON James O. CLARK Preston Scott COHEN Carl D’ALVIA Lisa Corinne DAVIS Lucky DEBELLEVUE Alberto DE BRAUD David DEUTSCH Carol DIEHL Peter DUDEK James ESBER Franklin EVANS Julie EVANS Alyssa FANNING Jay FEINBERG Emily FEINSTEIN Jane FINE Judy FOX Betsy FRIEDMAN Chie FUEKI Mark GIGLIO Kate GILMORE Margot GLASS Dave GLOMAN Nancy GOLDRING Elliott GREEN Nancy GRIMES Elizabeth HAZAN Benjamin HERNDON Elana HERZOG Bill JACOBSON Chris JOY Dennis KARDON John KELLY Zach KEETING Seth KOEN Philip KNOLL Black LAKE Pamela LAWTON Michael LEE Anne LINDBERG Joel LONGENECKER Danny LICUL Meg LIPKE Sabrina MARQUES Joshua MARSH Christian MAYCHACK Jenny Lynn MC NUTT Nader MEYKADEH Slink MOSS Donna MOYLAN Robert MURRAY Laura MURRAY Sue MUSKAT Patrick NEAL Itty NEUHAUS Ruby PALMER Caitlin PARKER Chris PENNOCK Zoe PETTIJOHN-SCHADE John Paul PHILIPPE Liza PHILLIPS Thomas PIHL Susan RABINOWITZ Eric RHEIN Alexander ROSS Victoria SAMBUNARIS Christopher SCHADE Katy SCHNEIDER Erik SCHOONEBEEK Carleen SHEEHAN Bill SCHUCK Elena SISTO Monika SOSNOWSKI Linda STILLMAN Lawre STONE Amy TALLUTO Steed TAYLOR Nichole VAN BEEK Tamas VESZI Sarah WALKER Royalyne WARD-DAVIS Alan WIENER Paul WIRHUN Rachael WREN Geoffrey YOUNG Paul David YOUNG

LABspace was founded and is directed by the artist Susan Jennings. The gallery is dedicated to experiments in curation, exhibiting category-busting and/or materially surprising contemporary art, and hosting performance art, screenings, readings and music that push the boundaries of categorization, participation and/or experience.

Image:  Selections from The Nature Lab include from left to right:
Elena Sisto, Untitled, 2017 oil on linen 12″ x 9″ courtesy of Bookstein Projects
Joshua Marsh, Acorns, 2017 . graphite on paper 7″ x 8″ courtesy of Jeff Bailey Gallery
Francis Cape, Cabinet 61 The Nature Cabinet, 2017  white pine, linseed oil . 26″ x 13″ x 3″ courtesy of Murray Guy Projects
Elliott Green, The Borning, 2016 . oil on linen  18″ x 24″ courtesy of the artist
Margot Glass, Dandelion, 2017 .  graphite on paper . 12″ x 9″ courtesy of the artist