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Site & Survey: The Architecture of Landscape

January 18 – March 11, 2018

Monroe-Brown Gallery

Site & Survey: The Architecture of Landscape Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, Lina Puerta

Frostic School of Art Students and Friends of the Richmond Center Members Preview and Opening Reception, Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 5 - 7pm.

Site: A place defined by boundaries, sometimes ambiguous and other times expanding beyond where the eye can see.  Site is a homonym of sight.  References include excavation or unearthing, especially in relationship to archeology.  A “site” presents evidence and preserves indications of past time.

Survey:  A form of evaluation; careful looking. Active construction of description through mapping. To survey means to look and to mark, nearly simultaneously; to take the heartbeat, the pulse.

Architecture: A structure that shelters or shields.  An identifiable style, practice, system, or configuration that connects and/or supports.  

Landscape: A picture of a view; a particular perception of a certain site, scene, situation, i.e. how we perceive sites (sights), scenes or situations.

Site & Survey:  The Architecture of Landscape features three international artists—Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, and Lina Puerta—each of whom engages landscape through a broad spectrum of cultural meanings, some exceedingly personal and others, overtly communal. Comprised of the intimate drawings, multi-media sculptures, and panoramic vistas, Site & Survey: The Architecture of Landscapeexplores the idea that sight—as a sensation and as an act of looking—implies closeness and distance simultaneously. By evaluating and mapping the geography of their physical environments, these three artists present layered points of view which seek to reveal the perception of the natural world as something more than topography.  In this installation, Van Caeckenbergh, Jónsson, and Puerta approach landscape as if it were a compass, directing not only our glance, but also emotional, social, physical, and political responses to a certain site.

About the artists:

In 2007, approximately ten years after moving from Ghent to the town of Sint-Kornelis-Horenbeke, Belgian artist Patrick Van Caeckenbergh began his series Drawings of Old Trees during wintry days 2007 – 2014, a powerful and mysterious suite of photorealistic graphite drawings in which trees take on stately, anthropomorphic forms. Suggestive of scrupulous scientific study and the silent, social language shared by living organisms, Van Caeckenbergh’s Drawings of Old Trees during wintry days point toward personal relationships with family, the artist’s immediate environment, and the ancient forests of Sint-Kornelis-Horenbeke. Culled from his “encyclopedic methodology,” Van Caeckenbergh, often described as a recluse or hermetic artist, bridges the realms of religion, myth, and personal imagination through a range of individual and communal references.

Summoning a similarly tedious, meditative and formal approach to image-making, Icelandic-American artist Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson’s woven silk paintings depict intimate, abstracted views of Icelandic glaciers, the country’s barren plateaus, its volcanic mountains, or green and gray lichens. Examining the Icelandic landscape as if under a microscope, Jónsson’s compositions juxtapose positive and negative space so that the flat, modernist surfaces of her paintings telegraph a magnetism as immersive as it is solitary. Describing the Icelandic landscape as “inescapable,” Jónsson’s process often begins with a photograph, which she then crops and enlarges, tightening focus on a single element.  

Based in New York City, Columbian-American artist Lina Puerta examines the body in relationship to nature through such materials as clay, resin, wood, fabric, and handmade paper pulp. Depicting cycles of decay and the intoxicating artifice of decorative, sumptuous materials—moss, shells and Swarovski crystals—Puerta traces where the boundaries of the natural world begin, end, or overlap with human influence. Like Van Caeckenbergh and Jónsson, Puerta’s process is rooted in observing how landscapes morph over time.  Alternately pious and rugged, the artist’s sculptures zero in on the complexities of sustainability and consumerism through the raw physicality of her materials.

Artist Biographies: 

Patrick Van Caeckenbergh (b. 1960, Aalst, Belgium; lives and works in Sint-Kornelis-Horebeke, Belgium) works across multiple mediums, often combining sculpture, drawing, and collage in a systematic collection and classification of images and information. Solo exhibitions of Van Caeckenbergh’s work have been organized at the Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent (forthcoming, 2017); Musée Gassendi, Digne-les-Bains, France (2016); the M-Museum, Leuven, Belgium (2013); La Maison Rouge, Paris (2007); Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nîmes, France (2005); and Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, Netherlands (2002). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include the 13th Fellbach Triennial of Small-Scale Sculpture, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2016); The Great Acceleration: Art in the Anthropocene, Taipei Biennial, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan (2014); For the blind man, exhibited atCulturgest Lisbon, Portugal; De Appel Arts Center, Amsterdam; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (2009-10); ABRACADABRA, Tate Modern, London (1999). Van Caeckenbergh has participated in multiple biennials, including Il Palazzo Enciclopedico, 55th Venice Biennale (2013); the 5th Lyon Biennale (2000); and the 45th Venice Biennale (1993). Van Caeckenbergh’s work is in numerous international public and private collections, including the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, Netherlands; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fonds régionaux d’art contemporain, France; Museum of Modern Art, Antwerp, Belgium; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France; Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium; Museum Overholland, Nieuwersluis, Netherlands; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium; and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT.

Born in Iceland in 1963, Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson splits her time between her native country and northeast Ohio. Solo exhibitions featuring Jónsson’s work have been organized at Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OH; Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, NY; EBK Gallery, Hartford, CT; The Reykjavík Art Museum, Reykjavik– Kjarvalsstaðir, Iceland; Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, OH; William Busta Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio; The Francis Young Tang Teaching Museum & Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; Pocket Utopia, New York, NY; Thomas Robertello, Chicago, IL; 21st Street Projects, New York, NY; among other venues. Jónsson’s work has been included in group exhibitions at such venues as Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York, NY; Miedzynarodowe Triennale Tkaniny, 15th International Triennial of Tapestry, Central Museum of Textile in Lodz, Poland; The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; Reinberger Galleries, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; Aqua Art Miami, Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; and Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland; Linen Museum, Rouen, France;  among other venues. Jónsson’s work has been reviewed in such publications as The Brooklyn Rail, ARTnews, Art in America, The Boston Globe, Akron Beacon Journal, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, Scene, Free Times and Angle magazines, and the Icelandic periodical Morgunblaðið. Her work is included in exhibition and collection catalogs published by Gagosian, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, The Progressive Collection, The Francis Young Tang Teaching Museum, The Reykjavík Art Museum, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Her woven silk paintings are held in public and private collections across the United States and in Iceland. 

Lina Puerta (1969), born in New Jersey and raised in Colombia, currently lives and works in New York City.  Solo exhibitions of her work have been hosted by such venues as Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY (forthcoming, 2018); Geary Contemporary, New York, NY; Materials for the Arts, Long Island City, New York; and Opalka Gallery, Albany, NY, among others.  Her work has been featured in a range of group exhibitions including H Gallery, Paris, France; PI Artworks, London, UK; The Fed Galleries at KCAD, Grand Rapids, MI; and The Hollow Artspace, Brooklyn, NY; Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers, SUNY; The Museum of Biblical Art, New York, NY; El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY; and Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, NY. Puerta earned an MS in Art Education from Queens College/CUNY and is recipient of several residencies and grants including the 2017 NYFA Fellowship in Crafts and Sculpture; 2017 Joan Mitchell foundation Artist Residency, New Orleans, LA; 2017, 21C Museum Hotels and Southern Foodways Alliance Artist in Residency,  Oxford, MS; 2016 Dieu Donné Workspace Residency (NYC), 2015 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant, 2015 Kohler Arts Industry Residency, Sheboygan,WI; 2014-15 Keyholder Residency at the Lower East Side Printshop, 2013-14 Smack Mellon Art Studio Program, 2014 Materials for the Arts, 2013 Wave Hill Winter Workspace and the 2010 Emerging Artist Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park in New York City. Puerta’s work has been written about in Hyperallergic, The New York Times, Wilder Quarterly, Sculpture Magazine and Artnet News, among others.