LandEscape: New Visions of the Landscape from the Early 20th and 21st Centuries

The landscape has been an independent subject for painting since the Renaissance, yet it was not until the late 19th century that the genre was transformed, removing it from its low pedestal in the hierarchy of the academies and elevating it to a worthy theme in its own right.  As the Industrial Revolution altered the traditions of rural life and artists focused on painting outdoors – a practice known as painting en plein air – the landscape was a means for artists to break through conventional painting techniques as well as change the way that we perceive our natural surroundings.   
  
By the early 20th century, American artists approached the landscape with a variety of strategies, initially influenced by European art movements such as Impressionism, Fauvism and Expressionism.  American painters absorbed the radical approaches to depicting light and color established by the European avant-gardes, but they also internalized their experience of European art, finding inspiration in the distinctive vernacular of the American geography and topography.  Many of them worked outdoors and responded to their local countryside with works that expressed the emotive power of their surroundings rather than merely representing the verisimilitude of the landscape itself.    
 
In the early 21st century the concept of landscape had expanded to include urban and industrial environments.  Contemporary artists continue to revisit the genre and often engage with it differently than their forebears.  They combine the artificial with the natural, sometimes giving us a tactile as well as a visual experience that doesn’t necessarily correlate to what we see in nature.  Working from memory in the studio, they combine their recollection of location with an emotional and analytical response to what they have previously experienced.  For both the modern and contemporary artists in this exhibition, the depiction of landscape can exist as a way to escape the boundaries of the physical environment. They allow us to relate to the places we know as well as the ones that we imagine.  
 

Exhibition Images

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Explore LandEscape: New Visions of the Landscape from the Early 20th and 21st Centuries

New Visions of the Landscape from the Early 20th and 21st Centuries

The landscape has been an independent subject for painting since the Renaissance, yet it was not until the late 19th century that the genre was transformed, removing it from its low pedestal in the hierarchy of the academies and elevating it to a worthy theme in its own right.

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Checklist

Illustrated checklist of works in the exhibition.

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Press Release

The show juxtaposes the work of early 20th century American modernist painters who exhibited their innovative works at the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show with contemporary artists from the 21st century who have rediscovered and reinvigorated the genre.

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Exhibition Support

Curated by Olga Dekalo with support from Art Bridges Foundation.  
The Katonah Museum of Art is supported in part by ArtsWestchester with support from the Westchester County Government, the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

Credits

Photography by Margaret Fox Photography.