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Site-specific sculptural installation by Natasha Bowdoin on view at SCAD Museum of Art
Natasha Bowdoin, “Garden Plot,” site-specific installation at Roswell Museum and Art Center, 2013. Image courtesy of the artist and Monya Rowe Gallery, New York.

SAVANNAH, GA.- SCAD Museum of Art presents “Bloom,” a solo exhibition by Natasha Bowdoin, featuring a site-specific sculptural installation along with recent two-dimensional works. Bowdoin draws inspiration from two key elements: literature and nature. Growing up in Maine, a state nicknamed the “Pine Tree State” because of the expansive white pine forests covering nearly 90 percent of the state’s landscape, Bowdoin often spent her days roaming the forests or on a boat in the Atlantic. These early memories of her adolescent interactions with nature fostered her appreciation and wonderment for the magnitude of the world’s landscape. Bowdoin’s practice offers viewers a chance to experience, interpret and align their own senses in an effort to better understand their placement within the natural world, calling to mind a quote from “Nature” by American author and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other ...”

Bowdoin builds upon her own experiences and illustrates literary passages to create pictorial, multi-colored and tiered interpretations based on a ritualistic and methodical studio practice. This meditative practice employs an assortment of mixed media, such as painting, paper cut from found and drawn elements, and writing. The summation of these parts creates an awe-inspiring landscape of flora and fauna. These meticulously layered and complex handcrafted installations take anywhere between three weeks to two years from conception to installation.

Over the last two years, Bowdoin has worked intensely to create “Garden Plot,” which debuts at the SCAD Museum of Art in her first Southeastern solo museum exhibition. The natural world and botanic illustrations play equally important roles in the conceptualizing of the work, most notably Ernst Haeckel’s prints of sea life and lunar maps. Drawing from these sources, along with Emerson’s “Nature” essay and Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” Bowdoin’s installation seeks to create a new rhythmic storyline. Using an assortment of mixed media — cut paper, graphite, gouache and wall painting — this installation transforms the aforementioned texts into visual patterned abstractions. These abstracted pieces show glimpses of language and text that analyze the ebb and flow of nature and our interaction within it.

This exhibition is curated by Aaron Levi Garvey, SCAD assistant curator of exhibitions.

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