The "Swamp" group show opening at Edgar Allan Poe Park Visitor Center Gallery has a heck of a lot going for it: intruiging theme, cool location, and a roster of excellent artists, including Phantasmaphile favorites Jesse Bransford, Juliet Jacobson, and Max Razdow. I love the description, too:
Poe Park Visitor Center is pleased to host Swamp, an exhibition that explores our shifting relationship with the natural world. The swamp as a bipolar space—half earth, half water—hints at complex connections between the real and fantastic, renewal and abandonment. Fourteen artists explore the delicate balance between visual imagination, illusion and actual environment. Swamp, curated by Kari Adelaide, is on view from December 19, 2012 - January 18, 2013.
In addition to drawing upon environmental sources, the artists also include ideas of embodiment and themes of fluidity, memory and consciousness. The exhibition conjures New York City’s bygone swamps, such as the Bronx’s former Bear Swamp, as well as Central Park’s present-day bodies of water that were created by damming the natural seepage of a swamp. Swamp acknowledges Frederick Law Olmsted's vision of "undignified tricks of disguise" in his Greensward Plan (the original map for Central Park), which emphasized the illusion of extended space—seemingly natural but completely man-made. Olmsted's vision of land rearrangement led to significant changes in the park’s structure and natural conditions: swamps were drained, ten million carts of soil were brought in and 20,800 barrels of gunpowder were used to loosen rock, for example.
The strikingly diverse and visually rich range of artwork negotiates boundaries between physical landscape and human consciousness. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Shadows in still water, and the like, if too eagerly hunted, become shows merely, and mock us with their unreality.”
Artists exhibited include Bhakti Baxter, Jesse Bransford, Benjamin Butler, Marthe Ramm Fortun, Tamara Gonzales, Scott Hug, Juliet Jacobson, Jose Lerma, Lauren Luloff, David Matorin, Max Razdow, Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir, Ryan Wallace, Max Warsh.
The opening reception is this Saturday, January 12, from 2-4pm, and the show is on view Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 8am-4pm - so get on your wading boots and go!