21st Century Landscape

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21st Century Landscape

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21st Century Landscape

LANDSCAPE PAINTING: PAST AND PRESENT

While landscape painting dates back to antiquity, it only became a serious genre when artists began using landscapes as a retreat from the complexities of modern life. The 19th century brought landscapes to the forefront through plein air techniques. The landscape became a reflection of philosophical ideas when previously, landscapes were simply an image of pastoral idyll.

The effects of the anthropocene on art have intensified with time. Today we are faced with new challenges: climate change, environmental destruction, and population density. The 21st century has an even more strained relationship with nature and an even greater dependence on technology. Our ecological crisis marked the collapse of traditional landscape, and modern gives way to contemporary. We have a radical new conceptualization of landscape, no longer tethered to factual depiction. Our perception is distorted by digital aesthetics which results in new, imagined landscapes. Scenes that could only be afforded by contemporary technology are present in the works by Yael Bartana, Thomas Eggerer, Sean Landers, Adam McEwen, Rodney McMillian, Sarah Morris, Seth Price, Stephen Prina, Dirk Skreber, John Stezaker, Nicola Tyson, and Corinne Wasmuht. Today, we can only dream of the bucolic landscapes of the past while we try to make sense of the present.

With the twentieth century, the further dismantling of linear perspective in a variety of areas began to take hold. Cinema supplements photography with the articulation of different temporal perspectives. Montage becomes a perfect device for destabilizing the observer’s perspective and breaking down linear time. Painting abandons representation to a large extent and demolishes linear perspective in cubism, collage, and different types of abstraction. Time and space are reimagined through quantum physics and the theory of relativity, while perception is reorganized by warfare, advertisement, and the conveyor belt. 

Hito Steyerl, In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective, 2011

PASTORAL LANDSCAPES

He who looks on nature with a "loving eye," cannot move from his dwelling without the salutation of beauty; even in the city the deep blue sky and the drifting clouds appeal to him. And if to escape its turmoil—if only to obtain a free horizon, land and water in the play of light and shadow yields delight—let him be transported to those favored regions, where the features of the earth are more varied, or yet add the sunset, that wreath of glory daily bound around the world, and he, indeed, drinks from pleasure's purest cup.

Thomas Cole, Essay on American Scenery, 1836

Thomas Eggerer
Yellow Harvest, 2012
Acrylic, oil and carbon on canvas
79 x 90 inches 200.7 x 228.6 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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John Stezaker
Tears, 2017 - 2018
Found painting and collage
20.08 x 23.82 inches 51 x 60.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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John Stezaker
Tears XI, 2018
Found painting and collage
17.83 x 19.88 inches 45.3 x 50.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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John Stezaker
Tears IX, 2018
Found painting and collage
16.02 x 19.96 inches 40.7 x 50.7 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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John Stezaker
Tears VII, 2018
Found painting and collage
15.94 x 20.08 inches 40.5 x 51 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Nicola Tyson
Figure with Tree, 2011
Oil on canvas
72 x 95 inches 182.9 x 241.3 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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PSYCHOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES

The image has become sheer presence, immediacy: the here and now in real time. Made up of particles of time, wrested out of sensation and turned into cognition, the image deals more with concepts and saying than with intuition and showing.

Irmgard Emmelhainz, "Conditions of Visuality Under the Anthropocene and Images of the Anthropocene to Come," E-Flux, 2015

Corinne Wasmuht
Nizza, 2005/2018
Oil on wood
43.25 x 58.75 x 2.25 inches 109.9 x 149.2 x 5.7 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Corinne Wasmuht
BSL DJ ZV, 2020
Oil on wood
77.95 x 81.5 x 2.17 inches 198 x 207 x 5.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Sean Landers
What Do Paintings Say?, 2017
Oil on linen
72 x 61.5 inches 182.9 x 156.2 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Sean Landers
This Thing, 2017
Oil on linen
72 x 61.5 inches 182.9 x 156.2 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Thomas Eggerer
Downward (Dark Triangle), 2010
Acrylic and oil on canvas
64 x 42 inches 162.6 x 106.7 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Thomas Eggerer
Budget Meal Pattern, 2019
Oil on linen
34 x 39 inches 86.4 x 99.1 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Adam McEwen
Itch That Can’t Be Scratched, 2017
Inkjet print on cellulose sponge, graphite
56.69 x 87.6 x 5 inches 144 x 222.5 x 12.7 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Dirk Skreber
Untitled (Enhanced), 2017
Oil paint, fiberglass, aluminum honeycomb, steel washers, polyurethane adhesive
71 x 94.5 inches 180.3 x 240 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Dirk Skreber
Untitled, 2016
Oil and microcrystalline wax on canvas covered wood panel
51 1/2 x 86 3/4 inches 130.8 x 220.3 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Rodney McMillian
Untitled (setting sun), 2019
Latex on blanket
94 x 87 x 2 inches 238.8 x 221 x 5.1 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Sarah Morris
Bovespa [Rio], 2013
Household gloss on canvas
48.25 x 48.25 inches 122.6 x 122.6 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Stephen Prina
Exquisite Corpse: The Complete Paintings of Manet. 67 of 556. Déjeuner sur L'Herbe (The Picnic), 1863. Jeu de Paume, Paris, August 27, 1989,
Left: ink wash on rag, barrier paper. Right: offset lithography on paper
left: 81.89 x 104.13 inches 208 x 264.5 cm, right: 25.98 x 32.68 inches 66 x 83 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Landscape is the work of the mind. Its scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock.

Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory, 1995

Seth Price
Untitled, 2019
Dye-sublimation print on synthetic fabric, aluminum, LED
115 x 60 x 4 inches 292.1 x 152.4 x 10.2 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Seth Price
Social Synth, 2017
Single-channel video
13:53 min., color, silent.
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Stephen Prina
Harbor Lights Supper Club, Galesburg, Illinois, 1947 - 1986, former site, 2015. Photography: Foley Photo Studio, Galesburg, Illinois, 2016
Digital print on vinyl banner
206 x 385 inches 523.2 x 977.9 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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POLITICAL LANDSCAPES

There is no such thing as just landscape. The actual landscape is politicized through the events that take place on it.

Julie Mehrtu, "What Does It Mean to Paint a Landscape in this Political Moment?," Culturetype, 2017

Sarah Morris
Rio, 2012
Beta digital
89 min
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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Yael Bartana
True Finn, 2014
HD
50 minutes
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

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