Landscape and Memory

7 May - 25 June 2022

Tufenkian Fine Arts is pleased to announce, Landscape and Memory, a group exhibition featuring a selection of artists whose artworks engage in a variety of approaches to the landscape genre. Among the highlights in this exhibition are new and recent works by Dawn Arrowsmith, Sam Grigorian, Alina Mnatsakanian, John David O’Brien, Paul Paiement, and Danny Shain. The exhibition will be on view from May 7th through June 25th, 2022, with an opening reception to be held on Saturday, May 7th from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.


The title of this exhibition takes inspiration from the book, “Landscape and Memory”, Simon Schama’s kaleidoscopic investigation into the human relationship to the natural world and landscape’s representations in literature, art, and our collective consciousness. In his work, Schama explores the inseparability of human perception to our environment and how through this attachment we find a sense of identity in landscape. As the author notes, “It is our shaping perception that makes the difference between raw matter and landscape.”


The artists in this exhibition respond to the landscape genre through a spectrum of recollections: myths, memories, cultural histories, personal narratives, poetry, literature, and art. It is in this approach to the genre that these artists not only construct landscapes through the lens of ecological, topographical, or environmental considerations; but also as sociological and cultural compositions capable of eliciting memories and symbols specific of time and place.


Several of the artists in this exhibition confront their personal histories through an amalgam of abstract depictions of the landscape genre. In Dawn Arrowsmith’s lyrically rendered Meeting Place series, the artist relates emotion to time and space vis-à-vis her relationship with past artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Martin, and Frida Khalo. Similarly, the arabesques in Alina Mnatsakanian’s Connecting dots series reference the lives of past individuals whose movements and migrations, as well as those of their immediate families, affect their identities.


Other artists in the exhibition approach the landscape genre through the lens of the city environment, exploring the natural and social interstices that influence the fabric of urban existence. Danny Shain’s constellation of painted and patched streets, familiar structures of bridges and overpasses, clouds of erased graffiti, and the divine notion of intersection are the forms and forces that shape and influence the artist’s body of work, providing a direct interpretation of his urban environment. In mixed media paintings by Sam Grigorian, the artist makes reference to the bustling atmosphere of urban life through a subtle process of layering and abrasion which mirrors the natural stratification found in city centers.


Other works in the exhibition acknowledge and confront the paradoxical legacies of human behavior on the natural environment. John David O’Brien’s Storied Landscapes (Paesaggi Storici) series treats erosion as a metaphor for the contradiction that arises out of the beauty found in the creation of something new in light of the natural forces of destruction and decay. In Paul Paiement’s exquisitely rendered Nexus series, the artist exposes the tangled relationship between our collective view of nature with the idea of human culture and influence. In these works, Paiement harmonizes the synthetic elements of human society with the natural world by directly embedding plexiglass depictions of architectural drawings onto open vistas of verdant woodlands, arid desert highlands, and snowcapped mountain peaks.


The works in Landscape and Memory attest to the belief that landscape is not merely what we see in the world around us; rather, it is the ascription of values and philosophies to the places we retain in our memories.


“There is some deep personal distillation of spirit and concept which molds these earthly facts into some transcendental emotional and spiritual experience” - Ansel Adams


Installation Views