Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Buffalo, New York



Landscape at the Millennium


The special exhibition Landscape at the Millennium opens with a Members' Preview Friday, November 19, 1999 from 8:30 to 11 p.m. and continues through January 2, 2000. This exhibition combines nineteenth-century landscape paintings from the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York, with two contemporary installations by painters Tobi Kahn and Pat Steir. (left: Martin Johnson Heade, Sunset; Florida Marsh, c. 1895-1906, oil on panel, 6 1/8 x 12 3/8 inches, Parrish Art Museum, Southhampton, NY Clark Collection)

This exhibition provides a context for addressing the representation of the landscape over the past 100 years, the ways in which our perception of it has changed, and the implications - philosophical, social, and cultural - of such changes. During the nineteenth century, the landscape occupied a prominent place in the nation's collective consciousness, signifying, on the one hand, a boundless frontier whose awesome potential has vast consequences for a rapidly developing country, and on the other hand, a more manicured and intimate terrain. (right: Theodore Robinson, Midnight, Giverny, c. 1892, oil on canvas, 15 5/8 x 25 3/4 inches, Parrish Art Museum, Southhampton, NY, Littlejohn Collection)

Paintings by American landscape artists such as Albert Bierstadt , George Inness, William Merritt Chase, and John Henry Twachtman are included in the exhibition. The installations by Kahn and Steir are inspired by aspects of the landscape and represent a more subjective approach. (right: Albert Bierstadt, The Marina Piccola, Capri, 1859, oil on canvas, 42 x 72 inches, Collection of Albright-Knox Art Gallery)

Distinguished by reductive designs and subtle modulations of surface texture, Kahn's interpretations of the landscape oscillate between representation and abstraction. While his subject matter is easily identified as landscape and seascape, the actual images are more suggestive, as natural phenomena are transformed through imagination and memory.

Steir's depiction of natural phenomena, like Kahn's, is based on equivalence, implied, never overt. Whereas Kahn's images suggest a meditative serenity, Steir's tend to explore more expressionistic dimensions. Since the mid-1980s, Steir has drawn inspiration from waterfalls and waves, creating monumental, abstract analogues for these chaotic forces in the form of works executed directly on the wall.

Organized by Curator Douglas Dreishpoon, the exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalague that includes interviews with Kahn and Steir and quotations on landscape painting by nineteenth-century painters. (left: James MacDougal, Catskill Creek, New York, 1855, oil on canvas, 45 1/2 x 66 1/2 inches, Collection of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 81:1.5)

A panel discussion, Landscape at the Millennium: Points of View with landscape architect Linda Schneekloth and artists, Tobi Kahn, Pat Steir, and Inka Essenhigh whose work is being featured in the New Room of Contemporary Art exhibition, American Landscapes: Recent Paintings by Inka Essenhigh will be presented Sunday, November 21 at 2 p.m. Gallery Curator Douglas Dreishpoon will be the moderator. This program is free with Gallery Admission.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, through the generous support of American Precision Industries.

Read more about the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Resource Library Magazine

Text and images courtesy of Albright-Knox Art Gallery

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 11/22/10

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