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Exhibition at George Adams Gallery explores the evolution of maritime representation
Charles Seliger, Ways of Nature: 15, 2008. Acrylic, matte gel, and beeswax varnish on gessoed masonite, 16 x 20 inches. Signed and dated lower left: Seliger '08.
NEW YORK, NY.- George Adams Gallery announces its summer 2013 exhibition, SEESCAPE, organized with the gallery by independent curator Edward Boyer. The artists included are: Dozier Bell, William Bradford, Vija Celmins, Lynn Davis, Pat de Groot, Chip Hooper, Chris Jordan, Lino Lago, Andrew Lenaghan, Pamela Longobardi, John Marin, Joel Meyerowitz, Fairfield Porter, Charles Seliger, William Trost Richards, Adam Straus, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Dan Torop and Worthington Whittredge.

Spanning almost a century and a half of painting, drawing and photography, the exhibition explores the evolution of maritime representation from the sublime to the political. In its origin 400 years ago, maritime painting initially documented naval encounters in support of imperial expansion. Later ship portraits, the whaling and fishing industry and yachting events were important subjects, but the sea itself became the actual subject of works of art only with the advent of the European discourse on the Sublime in the 18th century.

Mid-19th century American artists such as Bradford, Richards, and Whittridge were exploring the grandeur of nature, emphasizing the infinitely mutable sea as a metaphor for spiritual transcendence. By the early and mid-20th century, artists such as Marin and Porter focused on the expressive power of the sea, while contemporary artists such as Celmins, Davis, Lago, Lenaghan, Straus, and Sugimoto reference their 19th Century predecessors by exploring the effect of photography on contemporary realism – and traditional realism on contemporary photography.

The sea has also become a vehicle for political expression for artists such as Chris Jordan and Pamela Longobardi who address the polluting effects of global commerce, overpopulation, and climate change; in the 21st century, the sea as subject is less a metaphor of transcendental space than a very real place systematically being destroyed by human profligacy and waste.

SEESCAPE is on view from June 5 through August.

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