Natural Wonders: the Sublime in Contemporary Art is an art exhibit premiering at the Brandywine River Museum of Art on June 23rd and it will run until October 21st.
The exhibit will showcase the work of thirteen American artists who engage nature in all its fierce magnificence. Beyond just highlighting nature’s beauty, the featured artists—Suzanne Anker, Lauren Fensterstock, Patrick Jacobs, Maya Lin, Roxy Paine, Miljohn Ruperto & Ulrik Heltoft, Diana Thater, Jennifer Trask, Mark Tribe, Kathleen Vance, T.J. Wilcox, and Dustin Yellin—also hint at the more disquieting aspects of the natural world. As such, the works in this exhibition can be viewed as a type of neo-sublime, mixing the beautiful and terrifying to produce awe in the beholder in accord with tenets of eighteenth-century philosopher Edmund Burke.
Artists since antiquity have depicted, and often mimicked, the splendors of nature. Throughout the centuries, such representations have embodied the shifting relationship between humans and their natural surroundings. Nature has thus proved to be a fertile terrain for projecting a culture’s desires, fears, whimsy, or will. Artists in the twenty-first century have continued this cultural dialogue with nature, and as this exhibition will reveal, expanded it in surprising ways, bringing their distinct concerns and creative vision to the subject.