Now on view at Thinkspace is “Curioso”, a captivating group collaborative, featuring three distinct artists who explore nature’s wonders within a contemporary setting. ‘Curioso’, Spanish for visually awakening an interest due to a strange or wondrous quality, describes the appeal of this exhibition. Lindsey Carr, Frank Gonzales, and Jeremy Hush portray nature through a ‘modern’ lens, yet highlighting their refined fine art talent. Presented with variation, this group show revitalizes our visual attraction to nature with a contemporary twist.
Lindsey Carr renders vibrantly colored creatures throughout her pieces. Although implementing a slightly subdued palette, restrained to rich warm tones, her humanizing portraits infuse uncivilized wildlife with personality and sophistication. In Unfinished Monkey, a primate no longer screeches at the top of it’s lungs as it anxiously prances up and down; instead it is now tamed in a 3/4 traditional profile, demanding some form of respect as it stares off into the distance. Similarly, the usually-playful scarlet macaw is depicted composed and demure in Pretty Polyhedra. Carr’s paintings liken antiquated natural history prints accented by text and intricate detail. By exposing her chosen species in unconventional settings, the result is an imaginative natural world brought to life. In addition to her paintings, Carr’s sketches, color trials/combinations, and miniature figurines strengthen her concept, giving the artist leeway to unveil the kinship between animals and humans in a witty manner.
Frank Gonzales’ paintings put an urban spin on nature as he depicts various types of birds in the midst of tangled multihued flora. His vibrant paintings are beautifully finished, from birds’ glimmering feathers to the random abstract and geometric forms adding depth and variation to the composition. In Surveillance, two wide-eyed Great Blue Herons attentively ‘keep watch’; their alertness is so synchronized, they’ve somewhat become one, creating a visually intriguing arrangement. Makeshift underlines the contrast between nature’s calm demeanor and the unstructured bearing of urban life. The tiny bird’s reluctant façade for the madness-of-a-surrounding flourishing next to it mirrors our fluctuating interest in the ever-changing urban culture. The contemporary take on Gonzales’ view of nature emphasizes the hold we have on it, no matter how much the contemporary world can influence us.
Carr and Gonzales imply an anthropomorphic quality found in nature, but Jeremy Hush takes this link literal and places humans and creatures within dreamy fairy tale-like environments. Hush illustrates fearlessly curious children buried under overwhelming though exquisite scenery. As the layers of imagery and story are peeled off, nature’s presence becomes apparent in order for the fascination to remain vivid. Flight shows a poised young girl riding her noble griffin-like steed as she points her sword towards her destination; the rowdy creature tightly grasps onto a dismantled ship carrying the rest of her adventurous companions. Lingering debris and the innocent use of wildlife capture the spirit of a child at the crest of ultimate liberation reached only through imagination. The Reluctant Duke depicts an unenthusiastic boy putting his guard down and allowing his childish spirit to be crushed by mankind’s treacherous foe, the snake; the boy stares to the ground as the weight of his defeat consumes him.
Carr, Gonzales, and Hush delve into contemporary interpretations of the natural world. Filled with wonder, darkness, beauty, and imagination, “Curioso” invigorates our visual appeal to nature with a contemporary inclination.
"Curioso" runs through June 29th at Thinkspace Gallery.