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Tuesday, October 13, 2009.

“Divining Nature” subject of new gallery show

Erin Anfinson, Escape, Encaustic and Photocopy transfer on panel
Erin Anfinson, Escape, Encaustic and Photocopy transfer on panel

A group exhibition that focuses on how the concept of nature is shaped by personal and contemporary experiences is the subject of “Divining Nature” in the Antelope Valley College Art Gallery Oct. 1-23.

“Divining Nature” brings together local artists with artists from across the United States - Erin Anfinson, Kristi Arnold, Josh Crow, Susan Clusener, Barbara Koziel-Gawronski and Martin Machado. 

Show curator Christine Mugnolo describes the show as a “thought-provoking” exhibit incorporating such media as oil paint, encaustics, photography and ceramics through which the artists investigate the elusive, disconnected, and sometimes fraught relationship between humans and nature.

Several artists address the idea of nature as a physical encounter and life force.  Susan Clusener’s enormous fruit sculptures begin growing drawers, birds, and stairs, creating objects that are also environments. 

Susan Clusener, Pear with 1000 Flowers, Coil built earthenware and wire
Susan Clusener, Pear with 1000 Flowers, Coil built
earthenware and wire

Nature is untamed and uncategorized in Kristi Arnold’s prints of a post-taxonomic world where amorphous monsters sprout paws, pods, roots, and fur. 

Martin Machado’s highly rendered yet fractured oceanscapes recall how any concept of nature begins as a collection of sensory memories.

Others explore how nature is processed and understood through man-made structures. 

Erin Anfinson's abstract encaustic paintings are overlayed with Photocopy transfers of animals we might recognize from the Nature Channel or a children's book.  This recalls how our fantasies of nature are constructed by and heavily filtered through the media.

Barbara Koziel-Gawronski's prints and digital images of road kill and disappearing species are combined with gold thread and strips of white paper, creating unnerving relics of our shared collisions with natures. The deer wandering through malls in Josh Crow’s paintings seem oddly safe but perplexed by the tributes to fashion and consumption.

Taken together, these works question the origin of our ideas about nature and search for the reason of its semi-divine status in our human experience, according to Mugnolo.
An opening reception will be held 7-9 p.m. Oct. 1 featuring talks by one of the artists, Koziel-Gawronski, and by Mugnolo.

The gallery is located on the west side of campus, 3041 W. Ave. K, Lancaster. Gallery shows are free. Hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Josh Crow, Victoria's Secret Deer, Oil on canvasMartin Machado, Untitled (jpg is called 'dayslast'), Gouache, oil, fiberglass cloth, and panel
From left to right: Josh Crow, Victoria's Secret Deer, Oil on canvas & Martin Machado, Untitled, Gouache,
oil, fiberglass cloth, and panel