To explore nature and its relationship with human beings through art is nothing new, but to discover new and unique approaches and points of view on the matter is ever-exciting. At New York’s Julie Saul Gallery, two interesting artists will present a variety of media and techniques that deal with the observation and depiction of the natural, be it through drawings, pastels or ceramic works. Constructing an entire lexicon of flora and fauna for the viewers, the works of Zachari Logan and Christopher Russell go beyond the physical to examine the metaphor, the hidden meaning behind what is clearly visible, at the same time going deeper into their own souls and consciousness.
In his recent solo exhibition at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia, Missouri, Christopher Russell showed a selection of free standing and wall-mounted ceramic sculptures that will now be on view at Julie Saul Gallery as well. Separated in two groups and executed in glazed white terracotta, his work deal with topics like floral bouquets and ophidiophobia, his own fear of snakes. The former, brought together under the title Arrangement, ooze with detail even though they’re quite large-scale, and the latter, mounted on walls, feature uncanny depictions of the reptiles against a variety of background patterns, derived from Moorish architectural influences. Intricate and incredibly realistic, the art of Christopher Russell might help you get over your own fear of snakes, in case you suffer from one.
The other part of the hyperrealism show consists of the drawings and pastels by Canadian artist Zachari Logan, who recently spent some time as a resident at Wave Hill Botanical Garden in the Bronx. The influence of his stay can perhaps be noted in his drawings on mylar which combine elements of flora, the wildlife, and the artist’s own body parts, such as his head, his hand, his penis. By intertwining these items together in a unique composition, Zachari Logan references the “grotesqueries” of Roman painting, as well as medieval manuscript illuminations, all the while employing even the tiniest detail with his blue pencil. More colourful are his large-scale pastels created on black backgrounds, and some of them use floral motifs to create self-portraits, recalling the baroque portrait heads of one Arciboldo.
Snails, lilies, sunflowers, roses, daffodils, snakes, hands, feet, butterflies, moths, birds, wildflowers, mice and flies, all will be offered on display in their glorious detail, so don’t be fooled by their breathtaking resemblance to the real thing. But could they also be perceived as our own portraits, or the artists’ self portraits? Find out in Hypernatural, a joint exhibition of works by Zachari Logan and Christopher Russell that will be on view at Julie Saul Gallery in New York City, USA, from June 16 through August 12, 2016.
Featured images in slider: Left: Christopher Russell - Arrangement #1, 2015. Glazed white terracotta, 16 x 10” / Right: Arrangement #2, 2015. Glazed white terracotta, 24 x 18”; Design #10, 2015. Glazed white terracotta, 16 1/2 x 4”; Design #7, 2015. Glazed white terracotta, 15 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 4”; Design #4, 2015. Glazed white terracotta, 15 x 15 1/2 x 4”; Zachari Logan - Grotesque 3, 2015. Blue pencil on mylar 19 x 14”. © Zachari Logan, Courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York; Still-Life 1, 2015. Blue pencil on mylar, 35 x 18” / Right: Wildflowers from Specimen Series, 2016. Blue pencil on mylar, 10 3/4 x 7”. All images copyright the artist, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York.