WILDSCAPES examines two distinguished artistic approaches to depictions of nature, with a focus on ecological (dis)balance between the natural and the man made world. By utilizing different materials, aesthetical approaches and iconographies, both practices deliver compelling takes on wilderness and its fragility and/or pertinence within contemporary cultural context. They reinvent the notion of the sublime, dwell on the ways both nature and culture are fabricated, contemplate on their coexistence and clashes, and call for reflection on the existential and ecological issues of our times.
Ivan Stojakovic’s environmentally engaged body of work Urban Wild endorses the institution of painting as well as wall relief. The compositions by this “sculptural painter” incorporate live or preserved plants, acrylic and found material into deconstructed, mass-produced composite boards, commonly used in architecture applications and furniture production. Stojakovic is inspired by environmental maps, vertical gardens, natural history displays, contemporary architecture and artists ranging from Hieronymus Bosch to Alberto Burri, Anselm Kiefer and Frank Stella. In his playful and poetical compositions the artist creates a formal balance in between abstraction and representation, painting and sculpture. The works explore the relationship between nature and culture, and order and chaos, in the face of climate change. The compositions with living plants are also interactive; through their ongoing maintenance, they encompass a full span of growth and change. A gradual metamorphosis of the artworks happens through changes in the appearance of live plants.
Paula Winokur is a sculptor widely acclaimed for her artworks made of porcelain that reimagine vast landscapes and their geological as well as man-made transformations. The material duality of porcelain, delicate yet solid, conceptually corresponds to the nature of wildscapes themselves – ancient and resistant, yet slowly disappearing, endangered by global warming and human interventions. Winokur’s work is largely informed by her numerous travels through the intact landscapes of the American Southwest, Scotland and Alaska. The works featured in the exhibition deliver condensed renderings of glacial ice masses, combining smooth and rough surfaces and multilayered fractures in their formations. The sculptures, displayed on the floor, walls, or shelves, bring to mind sublime Romantic depictions of natural environments in all of their grandiosity as well as more recent engagements with this topic by Minimalist, Abstract Expressionist and Land Art protagonists. Winokur’s artworks suggest rethinking of the consequences of man’s current impact on natural habitats.