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Monday, May 13, 2013

Nature Unsubdued and Omnipresent

Villa Terrace presents ‘Chasing Horizons’

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Villa Terrace’ “Chasing Horizons” exhibit covers many gallery spaces and the subject matter and questions addressed are equally far ranging.

Several of the artists have availed themselves of digital technology in their dialogue with nature. In Clement Valla’s series Postcards from Google Earth, for instance, we find satellite photos of roadways spanning great gulfs—ordinary enough, except the roads appear sucked into the abysses they span, and the cars traversing them are optically flattened. In these aberrant images, technology seems thwarted by the reality of landscapes, even as systems like Google Earth attempt to chart and capture the entire face of the planet.

Another intersection of the natural and the man-made is to be found in Jason S. Yi’s Allusion to Diamond Mountains, a wall-mounted sculpture constructed entirely of packing peanuts. Here, the uniformly shaped pellets meld seamlessly into a nubbly, organic gestalt, suggesting union rather than dissention between humanity and nature.

In what is perhaps both the exhibit’s most playful and most cerebral piece, Range, artist Stephen Cartwright has cut jagged edges into seven strips of teal acrylic. Reminiscent of amorphous wave or cloud forms, these strips are actually graphs of data the artist collected regarding his latitude, longitude and elevation over a 14-year period of biking all over the world. Viewers are invited to press a button that sets the strips in motion reminiscent of puppet theater ocean machinery.

Crystal Ann Brown’s video projection, Breathing, invites viewers to enter a dark room where they are confronted with a rather puzzling image: close-ups of the gently rising and falling torsos of the artist’s family members as they breathe deeply. Read the artist’s statement to find the profound connection between the soft, undulating forms and lines of the human body, and the earth’s horizon.

“Chasing Horizons” is on display through Aug. 25 at Villa Terrace, 2220 N. Terrace Ave.

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