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The Contemporary Southern Landscape

Jepson Center Through October 20, 2013

The unique landscape of the South has served as a source of inspiration to artists for generations. In recent years, artists have produced contemporary Southern landscapes in a dizzying range of styles. Of the works included in this installation, the most realistic is the luminous Anthony Shoals, Broad River, Georgia by Athens artist Philip Juras, who has traveled the region in search of unspoiled pockets of land that remain untouched by industrialization. Juras has traced the path taken by famed eighteenth-century naturalist William Bartram, painting views that could have been seen by Bartram during his travels in the 1770s. The brilliantly colored Scenes from The Landings, by Larry Connatser, portrays recognizable elements of the landscape in a style noteworthy for its combination of a pointillist technique with the use of a flat picture plane devoid of linear perspective.

Other artists explore the Southern landscape in more abstract ways. The Georgia coast has long influenced the work of artist Betsy Cain, whose abstract Low Country Construct #1 and #2 utilize gestural brushstrokes and a distinctive color palette to reference the rippling waters and flowing grasses of the marsh. By contrast, while Daniel Smith’s In Plain View paintings also utilize abstraction to reconsider the landscape of the Low Country, his spare and contemplative compositions are concerned more with form and color.

 

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