New York University’s 80WSE Gallery presents “Pastorale,” an exhibition by seven contemporary artists and curated by Klaus Kertess. The exhibition features artists for whom landscape and the long tradition of the “pastorale” play an important role in their practice. 80 WSE Gallery is located at 80 Washington Square East, between West Fourth Street and Washington Place. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
Kertess writes in the exhibition’s catalogue, “The ever-changing look of landscape-oriented art with or without participating figures becoming a pastorale gave rise to this exhibition. Not a grand survey but a small selection of works by seven artists who have impacted my mental landscape. Seven artists, each one’s work occupying one of the seven available rooms of the exhibition space.”
The artists are:
- Peter Cain (1959 – 1997), represented in the exhibition by his paintings of gas stations void of any human elements as well as his outsize drawings of his partner resting against a sandy beach.
- Carroll Dunham (b. 1949), whose paintings of trees seem to grow out of the canvas and were created by various modes: brushed, spattered, and drawn with wet paint with the opposite end of a brush.
- Robert Harms (b. 1962), who creates gracefully fragile images of the rippling pond on which he lives on Long Island’s East End.
- Susan Hartnett (b. 1940), represented by works of graphite, pastels, and charcoal on paper that invoke the weather and plant life of places she has been, whether in Manhattan or rural Maine.
- Dona Nelson (b. 1947), who moves freely and courageously from figure to abstraction, from octopus to landscape. She not infrequently encourages something landscape-like to soak into her canvas before turning it around and working with the stains that soaked through to the other side.
- Alex Ross (b. 1960), who creates meticulous science fiction landscapes based on forms he models out of green Plasticene.
- Richard Van Buren (b. 1937), who was included in the landmark Minimalist exhibition Primary Structures at New York’s Jewish Museum in 1966, contributes baroque flows of thermoplastic, acrylic paint, and shells found not far from his home in Maine.