BEACON, NY.- Matteawan Gallery
is presenting Super Natural, a group exhibition of paintings, drawings, and prints by Julia Whitney Barnes, Gabe Brown, Cecilia Whittaker-Doe, Matt Frieburghaus, Charles Geiger, and Eleanor Sabin. The show opened Saturday, July 8 and runs through August 21.
Super Natural features 6 artists whose work is deeply influenced by the natural world. Most of them live in urban areas, yet they seek to understand the world around them through a connection with the natural environment. Each artist has a unique approach to interpreting and abstracting nature, although they can also be seen as falling into three discrete groups within the exhibition. Charles Geiger, Gabe Brown, and Eleanor Sabin take an up-close, detailed approach, exploring the dense, repetitive, all over quality of forests and landscape by drawing individual leaves and plants, drops of water, or a forest full of trees. Cecilia Whittaker-Doe and Matt Frieburghaus interpret nature in a more abstract way, with Frieburghaus reducing actual landscapes to their basic forms and colors and Whittaker-Doe creating imaginary landscapes through an accumulation of imagery. Julia Whitney Barnes paintings include elements from the human or built environment in surreal juxtapositions with nature.
Charles Geiger is particularly concerned with climate change, and his paintings incorporate botanical imagery and scientific concepts to reinterpret nature in dense surrealist landscapes. In his work, networks of leaves and rhizomes are depicted in a continuous process of breaking and reconnecting. For Geiger, the botanic gestures reflect a life-process where natural systems (biomes) flow, converge and teeter back and forth between entropy and order. He considers his paintings to be a place where rituals of rejuvenation, healing and hope are invoked in a practice he calls Quasibotanics.
For Gabe Brown the process of painting is a way to deal with the many possibilities we face in life. She explores what reality beyond our tangible experience might look like, and gives the viewers a glimpse of a parallel universe that questions the natural scheme of life itself. Her diverse imagery searches for meaning in the unknown and encompasses both the seen and unseen, representing different aspects of the world and juxtapositions of opposites: abstract geometric shapes, water droplets spouting from bunches of leaves, and the multiplication of cells and their structures.
Eleanor Sabin is interested in places where the manmade and natural worlds converge. These places embody the history of our environment, and the ways in which our impact continues to be recorded on the landscape around us. Sabin doesnt attempt to replicate an existing landscape, but rather depicts scenes in which nature has been deliberately arranged and controlled. Sabin writes: In my drawings I interpret the characteristics of the made and the grown as a way of understanding our impressions and expectations of the natural world.
Cecilia Whittaker-Does paintings are imaginary rural landscapes. They are the result of an intuitive process seeking places within the paint that suggest movement and change in the form of sun, moonlight, trees, mountains, or rain. Sometimes her paintings begin with specific imagery applied with silkscreen or watercolor onto the surface, a starting point in a process driven by instinct and medium. Whittaker-Does process becomes one of constant taking away and adding to create the experience of wandering into a place both familiar and unfamiliar.
Matt Frieburghaus digital prints are created from images captured in Iceland. He starts with a photograph of a landscape and abstracts it digitally using repetition of pixels in horizontal lines to form minimal and abstract images instantly recognizable as landscapes. Colors are also sampled directly from the original images. His works are an exploration of the vastness and geology of the landscape and the northern light that magnifies the simplicity of sea, ice, land, and sky.
Julia Whitney Barnes work is multi-disciplinary, executed in a variety of media from oil paintings, ceramic sculptures, murals, drawings, etchings, and site-specific installations. Her boldly colored paintings are based on a variety of source images that are conjoined into unusual landscapes and spaces. A hybrid of interiors, exteriors, realities and fictions, the resulting works combine her drawings and photographs from actual travels along with imagery from places she desires to visit. Whitney Barnes works in the style of many Hudson River School artists who created composite paintings based on sketches from several days and locations distilled into a single image.
Julia Whitney Barnes has exhibited in the United States and abroad including shows at Front Room Gallery, Novella Gallery, Brooklyn Historical Society, The Old Stone House, Arts@Renaissance, National Academy of Fine Arts, 69th Regiment Armory, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Chelsea Art Museum, Siena Art Institute, One Mile Gallery, Gallery 21 and the International Cryptozoology Museum. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Brooklyn Magazine, The Village Voice, Hyperallergic, and The New York Sun. Whitney Barnes was awarded fellowships from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Abbey Memorial Fund for Mural Painting/National Academy of Fine Arts, the Gowanus Public Art Initiative, and completed public art projects in Fjellerup, Denmark through funding from Kulturpuljen, Norddjurs Kommune, Denmark in 2013 and the NYCDOT Urban Art program in 2011. She was born in Newbury, VT and currently lives in the Hudson Valley. She received a BFA from Parsons School of Design and an MFA from Hunter College.
Gabe Browns paintings and works on paper have been exhibited nationally in galleries and museums including Kenise Barnes Contemporary Art, Scarsdale, NY; The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, NY; Butters Gallery, Portland, OR; The Saratoga Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY; Garrison Art Center, Garrison, NY; John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY; Schweinfurth Arts Center, SUNY Brockport; The Horticultural Society of New York; Albany International Airport; and Sears-Peyton Gallery, NYC. She had a solo show at Matteawan Gallery in 2016. Also in 2016 Brown was awarded a fellowship at Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts in Ithaca, NY. Previously she participated in artist residencies at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, MN and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 2014 she was the recipient of the Sustainable Arts Foundation Award and was a selected artist for ArtBridge in Kingston, NY. Brown received a BFA from The Cooper Union and an MFA in Painting from the University of California, Davis. She was born in Tucson, AZ, grew up in New York City, and currently lives in the Hudson Valley.
Cecilia Whittaker-Doe lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and in the Catskills, Delaware County, NY. Her work was the subject of solo exhibitions at Art Mora, Ridgefield Park, NJ and NHFPL Gallery
New Haven, CT. In 2017 she was included in group exhibitions at Honey Ramka and Side Show Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Mykonos Biennale, Greece; Protégé Gallery, NYC (curated by Eric Prince and Dominick Lombardi); and Talking Pictures 1st Invitational, Brooklyn, NY (curated by Cathy Quinlan and Paul DAgostino). In 2016 she was included in Reality of Abstraction, Schelfhaudt Gallery, University of Bridgeport, CT. Whittaker-Doe and her husband Don Doe run SRO Gallery in Crown Heights Brooklyn. She received an MFA from Brooklyn College and a BFA from Buffalo State College.
Matt Frieburghaus has exhibited at festivals, galleries, and museums including ODETTA, Brooklyn, NY; ArtsWestchester, White Plains, NY; Boston Cyberarts Gallery, Jamaica Plain, MA; Bronx Calling: The Second AIM Biennial, New York, NY; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; FILE, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Festival Miden, Kalamata and Chios, Greece; Foster Gallery, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire; Hartell Gallery, Cornell University; HVCCA, Peekskill, NY; Matteawan Gallery, Beacon, NY; Simultan Festival, Timisoara, Romania; and Work Ann Arbor, University of Michigan. His awards and residencies include Artist in the Marketplace, Bronx, NY; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont; and Nes Artist Residency in Skagaströnd, Iceland. He received an MFA in Computer Art from Syracuse University and a BFA in Animation from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Digital Media at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY and lives in Cold Spring, NY.
Charles Geiger has exhibited extensively in New York as well as nationally, with recent group exhibitions at ODETTA, Brooklyn, NY; The Falcon, Marlboro, NY; Elizabeth Harris Gallery, NYC; Thompson Gallery, Cambridge School, Westin, MA; Silvermine Art Center, New Canaan, CT; Palmer Gallery, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY; The University Art Museum, SUNY Albany, NY; Howland Cultural Center, Beacon, NY; Imogen Holloway Gallery, Saugerties, NY; and Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, Woodstock, NY. Geigers work has been reviewed in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Albany Times Union, Poughkeepsie Journal, Chronogram, Westport News, and Saugerties Times. He received a BFA in painting from East Carolina University and a BS in Computer Science from Millersville University. Geiger lives and works in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Eleanor Sabin has exhibited nationally, with a solo exhibition at Hunter Gallery, St. George School, Newport, RI. Her work has been included in recent group exhibitions at Wassaic Project - Wassaic, NY (2017); Bristol Museum of Art - Bristol, RI; Cranbrook Museum of Art - Bloomfield Hills, MI; CAVE Gallery, Detroit, MI; Forum Gallery, Bloomfield Hills, MI; Providence Art Club, Providence, RI; Grimshaw- Gudewicz Gallery, Fall River, MA; Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, Pawtucket, RI; DeBlois Gallery, Newport, RI; Woods Gerry Gallery, Providence, RI; Warwick Museum of Art, Warwick, RI; Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge, MA. In 2016 Sabin was selected for a residency at Wassaic Artist Residency, Wassaic, NY. She has received numerous scholarships and awards, including The League Residency at Vyt, fully funded by the Ruth Katzman Scholarship- Orangeburg, NY 2015; Merit Award, Sculpture Department - Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield hills, MI; 2014 Rhode Island State Council for the Arts Drawing Grant - RISCA, Providence, RI. She received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Fine Arts, Bloomfield Hills, MI, and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. She currently lives in Providence, RI.