UnNaturally

September 20 - October 29

Overview

Installation view
Detail, Jason Middlebrook, "Plant," 2002, Plastic lumber, silk plants, and paint, 1.5 ft. high, 14 ft. in diameter, Courtesy the artist and Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York
Installation view, left: Michelle Segre, right: Nicoletta Munroe
Detail, Roxy Paine, "Psilocybe Cubensis Tray," 1997, Thermoset, Polymer, lacquer, and oil, 24 2/4 x 17 5/8 x 6 1/2 in., Lisa and Stuart Ginsberg, courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York
Michael Pierzynski, "Untitled" (brown, dark green, and light green), 2001, Painted ceramic, 4 x 5 x 3 in., Courtesy of the artist
Alyson Shotz, "Still Life," 2001, Rubber, steel, tape, Q-Tips, casters, and tubing with sound component, 9 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 ft., Courtesy of the artist

 

"UnNaturally" featured work by fifteen international artists who employ artificial materials to create simulations of nature. By exploring the ways in which the boundaries between nature and culture are sometimes blurred, the artists raised provocative questions about our mediated environment. With its studied verisimilitude and occasional deadpan use of irony, the work seemed to suggest that the natural world can be reproduced with man-made materials just like any other mass-produced commercial product.

The photographs in the exhibition often featured elaborately constructed scenes that imitate natural settings. They challenged viewers to carefully inspect the content for signs of intervention or manipulation and thus question their own perception of reality.

Some of the sculptures resemble completely convincing fake natural settings and have been created with the use of steel, epoxy, plaster, foam, polymer, and other non-traditional materials. In other cases, the sculptures are blatantly artificial and borrow from popular culture and theme-park kitsch.

The exhibition also included a sound piece, a subtle critique of New Age sound tracks piped through shopping malls that often simulate rainstorms, breaking waves, or wind blowing. In this case, the artist began with the sound of a gunshot he recorded in the inner city, which he then digitally remastered to achieve a soothing ambient, "natural" noise.

"UnNaturally" brought together work that evokes a sense of awe and confusion about the environment in which we live and the complex world of artifice. Collectively, the work provides pointed commentary on the increased attention our culture pays to the issue of real versus fake. The artists in the exhibition—with their often satirical critiques of urban society’s removal from the natural environment—invited viewers to take part in a thoughtful examination of the relationship between the artificial and the natural in our lives.
 
"UnNaturally" was a traveling exhibition organized and circulated by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition was curated by Mary-Kay Lombino. The exhibition, tour, and catalogue were made possible, in part, by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and Philip Morris Companies Inc.
 
"UnNaturally," a traveling exhibition curated by Mary-Kay Lombino, was presented by Independent Curators International, New York, and includes a catalogue with an essay by Lombino.

Featured artists are: Chris Astley; Gregory Crewdson; Jacci Den Hartog; Allan deSouza; Keith Edmier; Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle; Jason Middlebrook; Nicoletta Munroe; Roxy Paine; Michael Pierzynski; Marc Quinn; Michelle Segre; Alyson Shotz; Frances Whitehead; and Clara Williams.
 
 
For generous support of the 2003-2004 exhibition series at the Artspace, the Kansas City Art Institute gratefully acknowledges the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and the H&R Block Foundation. 

 

Checklist


Chris Astley
Born: 1965, East Lansing, Michigan
Resides: New York City
 
1.      Volume IV, 2000
C-print
35 3/4 x 59 3/4 in. (90.8 x 151.8 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
2.      Volume V, 2000
C-print
35 3/4 x 59 3/4 in. (90.8 x 151.8 cm)
Collection of Michael Formica and Bob Hiemstra
 
3.      Volume VI, 2000
C-print
19 x 29 3/4 in. (48.3 x 75.6 cm)
Collection of Michael Formica and Bob Hiemstra
 
Gregory Crewdson
Born: 1962, Brooklyn, New York
Resides: New York City
 
4.      Untitled (Bedroom Tree), 2001, from the Twilight series
Digital C-print; edition of 10
48 x 60 in. (120 x 150 cm)
Collection of Ruth and Jake Bloom, Sun Valley, Idaho, courtesy Fine Art and Collectibles, Los Angeles, California
 
5.      Untitled (Flower Beanstalk), 2001, from the Twilight series
Digital C-print; edition of 10
48 x 60 in. (120 x 150 cm)
Collection of Ruth and Jake Bloom, Sun Valley, Idaho, courtesy Fine Art and Collectibles, Los Angeles, California
 
6.      Untitled (Flower Pile), 2001 from the Twilight series
Digital C-print; edition of 10
48 x 60 in. (120 x 150 cm)
Collection of Ruth and Jake Bloom, Sun Valley, Idaho, courtesy Fine Art and Collectibles, Los Angeles, California
 
Jacci Den Hartog
Born: 1962, Pella, Iowa
Resides: Los Angeles, California
 
7.      Passing a Pleasant Summer II, 1999
Polyurethane, Hydrocal, and steel
22 x 9 1/2 x 18 in. (55.9 x 24.1 x 45.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California
 
8.      Traveling with My Heart above My Head, 1997
Polyurethane, Hydrocal, and steel
25 x 22 x 19 in. (63.5 x 55.9 x 48.3 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California
 
9.      Garden for Walking Through Water, 1999
Polyurethane, Hydrocal, and steel; edition of 3
55 x 29 x 31 in. (139.7 x 73.7 x 78.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California
 
Allan deSouza
Born: 1958, Nairobi, Kenya
Resides: Los Angeles, California
 
10.   Terrain #1, 1999–2000
C-print
12 x 18 in. (30.5 x 45.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
11.   Terrain #3, 1999–2000
C-print
12 x 18 in. (30.5 x 45.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
12.   Terrain #5, 1999–2000
C-print
12 x 18 in. (30.5 x 45.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
13.   Terrain #7, 1999–2000
C-print
12 x 18 in. (30.5 x 45.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
14.   Terrain #8, 1999–2000
C-print
12 x 18 in. (30.5 x 45.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 


Keith Edmier
Born: 1967, Chicago, Illinois
Resides: New York City
 
15.   Keith’s Paphiopedilum (Version One), 2001
Acrylic paint on dental acrylic
3 x 4 x 10 in. (7.6 x 10.2 x 25.4 cm)
Courtesy Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York
 
Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle
Born: 1961, Madrid
Resides: Chicago, Illinois
 
16.   Sonambulo, 1996-98*
Compact disc and two speakers
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist and Max Protetch, New York
 
*Sonambulo, which was created as a sound-and-light installation, is presented in this exhibition as a sound installation only.
 
Jason Middlebrook
Born: 1966, Jackson, Michigan
Resides: Brooklyn, New York
 
17.   Plant, 2002
Plastic lumber, silk plants, and paint
1.5 ft (45.7 cm) high, 14 ft (4.3 m) in diameter *
Courtesy the artist and Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York.
 
Nicoletta Munroe
Born: 1968, Washington, D.C.
Resides: Los Angeles, California
 
18.   Dream I, 2000–2002
Cibachrome print, mounted on Plexiglas
50 x 26 in. (127 x 66 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
19.   Cherry Blossoms III (Stage Right), 2000
Cibachrome print, mounted on Plexiglas
32 x 48 in. (81.3 x 121.9 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
Roxy Paine
Born: 1966, New York City
Resides: New York City
 
20.   Tapioca Slime Painting, 2001
Thermoset plastic, lacquer, oil, and aluminum
36 1/4 x 48 x 9 in. (92.1 x 121.9 x 22.9 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California
 
21.   Psilocybe Cubensis Tray, 1997
Thermoset, Polymer, lacquer, and oil
24 2/4 x 17 5/8 x 6 1/2 in. (62.2 x 44.9 x 16.5 cm)
Lisa and Stuart Ginsberg, courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York
 
Michael Pierzynski
Born: 1957, St. Louis, Missouri
Resides: Los Angeles, California
 
22.   Hollywood Reservoir, 1997
Painted ceramic and plaster base
6 x 20 x 12 in. (15.2 x 50.8 x 30.5 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
23.   Untitled, 1997
Painted and underglazed ceramic, and plaster
8 x 11 x 12 in. (20.3 x 27.9 x 30.5 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
24.   Cultivating Internal Plastic Infinity, 1999
Painted ceramic, gravel, and wood base
14 x 12 x 7 in. (35.6 x 30.5 x 17.8 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
25.   Untitled, 2001 (brown)
Painted ceramic
4 x 5 x 3 in. (10.2 x 12.7 x 7.6 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
26.   Untitled, 2001 (dark green)
4 x 5 x 3 in. (10.2 x 12.7 x 7.6 cm)
Painted ceramic
Courtesy of the artist
 
27.   Untitled, 2001 (light green)
4 x 5 x 3 in. (10.2 x 12.7 x 7.6 cm)
Painted ceramic
Courtesy of the artist
 
Marc Quinn
Born: 1964, London
Resides: London
 
28.   Garden2, 2000
Series of 4 pigment prints; edition of 45
49 x 31 3/4 in. (124.5 x 80.6 cm) each
Collection Adam Lowe
 


Michelle Segre
Born: 1965, Tel Aviv
Resides: New York City
 
29.   Untitled, 2000
Beeswax, papier-mâché, acrylic, and metal armature
43 1/2 x 48 x 34 1/2 in. (110.5 x 121.9 x 87.6 cm)
Collection of Patrick Painter, Santa Monica, California
 
30.   Opuntia, 2002
Beeswax, papier-mâché, foam, metal, and paint
65 x 34 x 90 in. (162.5 x 85 x 225 cm) (includes base)
Courtesy of the artist and Murray Guy Gallery, New York
 
Alyson Shotz
Born: 1964, Glendale, Arizona
Resides: Brooklyn, New York
 
31.   False Branches #1, 2001
Lambda print on Fujiflex paper mounted on Sintra
19 x 28 in. (48.3 x 71.1 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
32.   False Branches #5, 2001
Lambda print on Fujiflex paper mounted on Sintra
19 x 28 in. (48.3 x 71.1 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
33.   Still Life, 2001
Rubber, steel, tape, Q-Tips, casters, and tubing with sound component
9 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 feet (274.3 x 106.7 x 106.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
Frances Whitehead
Born: 1953, Richmond, Virginia
Resides: Chicago, Illinois
 
34.   metamohn.dbl ended blk poppy.afmz.ai, 2001
Epson 9500 digital print on backlit film
36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
35.   metamohn.dbl ended blk poppy.afmz.stl, 2001
Stereolithography and epoxy resin
12 x 6 x 6 in. (30.5 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
36.   metamohn.dbl pop2.afmz.ai, 2001
Epson 9500 digital print on backlit film
36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 


37.   metamohn.dbl pop2.afmz.stl, 2001
Stereolithography and epoxy resin
12 x 6 x 6 in. (30.5 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
38.   metamohn.1ptl crkl pop.afmz.ai, 2001
Epson 9500 digital print on backlit film
36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
39.   metamohn.1ptl crkl pop.afmz.stl, 2001
Stereolithography and epoxy resin
12 x 6 x 6 in. (30.5 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
40.   metamohn.2ptl pop frag.afmz.ai, 2001
Epson 9500 digital print on backlit film
36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
41.   metamohn.2ptl pop frag.afmz.stl, 2001
Stereolithography and epoxy resin
12 x 6 x 6 in. (30.5 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
 
 
Clara Williams
Born: 1972, Nashville, Tennessee
Resides: New Haven, Connecticut
 
42.   Rock, 2001
Plaster, wood, Styrofoam, and paint
22 x 33 x 26 in. (55.9 x 83.8 x 66 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York
 
43.   Scout, 2001
Plaster, wood, embalmed weasel, and painted plywood column
36 x 31 x 20 in. (91.4 x 78.7 x 50.8 cm)
Courtesy Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York
 
 
 

 

Events

Press

Press Release

The exhibition, UnNaturally, opens at the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute
KCAI Website |
Mon, 2003-08-18

"UnNaturally" features work by fifteen international artists who employ artificial materials to create simulations of nature.  

 

Selected Press

Other Nature by Elisabeth Kirsch
The Kansas City Star |
Fri, 2003-10-24

Exhibit examines pop culture's representations of the natural world.

H&R Block Artspace: UnNaturally by Hesse McGraw
Review |
Mon, 2003-09-01

Continuing a streak of successful, high-profile international exhibits is "UnNaturally" at the H&R Block Artspace.