ArtsATL > Art+Design > “Abstracted Nature” at Swan Coach House Gallery: At least it’s spring somewhere

“Abstracted Nature” at Swan Coach House Gallery: At least it’s spring somewhere

Swan Coach House Gallery’s “Abstracted Nature” is the perfect antidote to the protracted drear of winter 2010. Curator Marianne Lambert has assembled drawings, paintings and photographs by eight Southern artists who ably use imagery of the natural world toward various aesthetic and metaphorical ends.

Marilyn Suriani's "Jamaican Jade"

Marilyn Suriani‘s striking photos hover between abstraction and representation. The three turquoise petals in “Jamaican Jade,” posed as if in arabesque on a green backdrop, transport a willing viewer to the tropics. Whether she permits flowers and leaves to be recognizable or submerges their identity for the sake of color and shape, the Atlanta artist makes her own sort of intelligent design.

Kathryn Kolb's "American Chestnut"

Kathryn Kolb is one of Atlanta’s most sensitive photographers of Southern flora. Shot with a Hasselblad camera (hence the square format), the selection of pictures here attests to the care she takes in seeking out beautiful moments, framing and composing them. Visually arresting, they are also profound. In conveying her deep feeling for the world around her, Kolb imbues her photos with spiritual comfort.

Pam Rogers' "Stolen Mythologies" (detail)

Pam Rogers also feels a deep connection to the natural world. She makes the pigments for her drawings from leaves, seeds, blossoms and soil, and often makes her own paper. But her imagery is not au naturel or in situ, and it is clearly metaphoric. With delicate line and soft washes of color that echo traditional botanical illustration, she limns oddments of plant life on otherwise empty sheets of paper, as if they are still lifes. Stranger still, the plants are bound with string or cloth and sometimes pierced with needles or pins. They bring to mind African fetishes, rituals and, of course, bondage. Strange and wonderful, they simmer with allusions to human experience, embattled Mother Nature and mysteries wrapped in enigmas.

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