Press Releases

Thursday, July 12, 2007
No. 94

The Arsenal Gallery Explores Man’s Relationship With Nature

Parks & Recreation’s Arsenal Gallery is pleased to announce One Day I Will Control the Sun, which features paintings and drawings by contemporary artists who have depicted the natural world in unexpected ways. Curated by artist J.J. Garfinkel, each artist presents a unique vision of humanity’s relationship with the natural world. The exhibition will be on display from July 12 through September 5, 2007.

"Since the beginning of mankind, we have coexisted and, at the same time, tried to conquer nature," said Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "But whether revered or harnessed, artists have always found inspiration in our environment. In the Arsenal Gallery's latest exhibit, One Day I Will Control the Sun, the artists have re-imagined representations of the way that we interact with our habitat."

Throughout each collection of work, the artists utilize the conventions of landscape, portraiture, still life, abstraction and representation, while providing an unconventional view of nature. Min Kim’s drawing collage of a woman being engulfed by water and foliage reflects an emotionally ambiguous relationship with natural forces. The small-scale acrylic works by Matthew Fisher similarly arouse a sense of ambiguity through his ironic representations of old world French soldiers in a natural landscape. Metaphysics, alchemy and the supernatural are dealt with by Ben Beaudoin, Gordon Terry and Lorenzo de Los Angeles. Elissa Levy and Michael Lazarus use the idea of the mandala, a devotional design that represents the human perspective. The architectural diagrams of Jeff Williams focus on the barriers humans erect to prevent nature from permeating their built structures. J.J. Garfinkel’s paintings present lush natural scenes where constructed abstract shapes both threaten and commingle with their surroundings. Eric Trosko combines various "organic" objects to create new hybrid forms, an artistic process akin to the horticultural practice of crossbreeding different plant species. Joy Garnett’s paintings use an aerial viewpoint to comment on our emotional distance from natural catastrophes, as well as our inability to tame and harness nature.

"These artists employ architecture, science and metaphysics to explore the tug of war between the manmade and natural worlds," said Garfinkel, exhibition curator. "The result is a vibrant exchange of ideas among the artworks, provoking a world of questions about the implications of art, and about the relationship between humans and their habitat."

The Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks and park history. It is located on the third floor of the Parks Department Headquarters, in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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