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Poems of a Threatened Eden

September 11, 2009 - January 11, 2010

 

Come lose sight of the horizon and become immersed in the work of Frank Hyder in the mixed-media site specific installation, Poems of a Threatened Eden at The Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, New Jersey. Presenting images that echo the endangered environment the exhibition will provide an experience of Eden that prompts wonder and the need to protect. The exhibit opened September 11, 2009 and finishes January 11, 2010.

Hyder's work is an examination of how the industrialized world is threatening nature. Hyder states, "The world is in jeopardy unless we change our energies and redirect our ways." The works are unusually captivating: moreover than being large in size, their colors are bold, but still natural, and their images fall between realism and iconography. The back of the gallery is transformed into a forest where the visitor can feel as if they are walking into a painting. Graphically, the images convey a message which focuses on the union and tension between man and nature, one that Hyder portrays as poetic and symbolic. This portrayal is based on the awareness of environmental issues and damage from industrial areas, but is not explicitly political. Instead of creating images for reportage or protest, Hyder acts more like a poet and channels his political beliefs into lyrical images that are organic, rhythmic, and energized by the celebration of life.

Poems of a Threatened Eden includes dramatic three-dimensional installations of rainforest scenes, illuminated vessels, large paintings of human faces and mixed media prints of schools of koi fish. Together the works in this exhibition create the Eden that refers to Hyder's time in Venezuela. The rainforest installation provides a backdrop of the remote forested, mountainous area in San Diego de Los Altos. On a Senior Fulbright grant from 2000-2001, Hyder and his family lived near the village, 4,500 feet above sea level, in a house that had large glass windows which not only enabled Hyder to see his forest surroundings but feel that he was living within it. Hyder notes that it was the sensation of being encompassed by the trees that also inspired the images of the swimming koi fish: "This leafy environ, devoid of horizon or sky, eventually began to suggest the sensation of being amongst a school of swimming fish." Deriving energy and rhythm from organic, natural shapes are Hyder's illuminated vessels. The vessels resemble ships, which for Hyder, represent the ships that sailed to the New World. Shield-like structures called "illuminaries" are made from handmade paper and are lit from behind. These unique "illuminaries" resemble canoes or seedpods, a recurring prominent shape in many of Hyder's works.

Numerous painted faces fill the gallery and are the Latin American-inspired twist to an image that Hyder has done throughout his artistic career. Hyder proclaims, "The human face is the form we know best and is an endless source of inspiration." Images called "perditos," which means, "lost ones," are faces painted as memories after the wall images of people that were assumed to be missing after a natural disaster. Hyder explains, "I'm trying to give a sense of the individual. Inside each person exists the future and the past generation." These paintings become infused with sadness and hope, and depict what is universal. Poems of a Threatened Eden evokes a powerful concern for the natural inspiration that colors Hyder's art and world.

Hyder earned his bachelor degree in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Fine Art and his master degree in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. He has shown his work throughout the United States and Latin America, having had over 75 solo shows and hundreds of group exhibitions. In 2001, he was the first North American to have a solo show in the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is located in Maracaibo, Venezuela and is the largest museum of contemporary art in South America. Hyder is a prolific artist with an extensive body of work; he has also done other works that explore themes of civilization, the human body, and dream landscapes.

Images

 

(above: Frank Hyder, The Search at Sea, acrylic on handmade paper)

 

(above: Frank Hyder, Passing Through, mixed media on carved wood)

 

(above: Frank Hyder, Amazonas Installation -- This specific piece is not in the exhibition, but shows how Hyder transforms galleries with his work. Mixed media handmade paper, woodcut sculptural forms, light.)

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