“The sky above the port was the color of television tuned to a dead station.”
-William Gibson, first line of Neuromancer
We never see the natural world exactly as it is; we see it as we hope it will be or fear it might be. Chrome Green features contemporary artists who engage with nature and explores how different minds experience and relate to their natural environment in an era of technological wonders and ecological anxiety.
Chrome Green is curated by James Kao and Laura Mackin and features the following artists:
ANDREW CHUANI-HO’s color pencil drawings depict everyday scenes populated with anthropomorphized animals. A blue dog dressed in a No. 33 Knicks jersey, a disguised depiction of the artist, plays protagonist. Chuani-Ho uses this dog as self-portrait to portray human identity through a symbolic and animalistic lens.
SHAWN DECKER’s electro-acoustic audio installation recreates naturalistic sounds with electronic equipment. Speakers and metal rods vibrate with sounds that make visual a familiar, natural environment and immerse his audience in an illusion of peaceful nature—one that is both observed and felt.
PAMELA FELDMAN produces natural dyes from plants and fixes the otherwise ephemeral, natural colorants to woolen yarn. Feldman weaves her colors together on a loom in her studio that overlooks her garden of dye plants. “For me,” Feldman says, “the art of making color and the process of weaving with those colors represent a record of my existence.”
HOWARD FONDA’s paintings explore the experience of nature with emotional intensity. In Fonda’s abstract paintings, clump-like arrangements of color suggest forest landscapes that hover at the edge of formlessness.
In JO HORMUTH’s multi-panel color installations, each monochrome photograph represents a small section of a plant, distilling the natural color. Light refracting through face-mounted acrylic produces a gem-like glow.
ISABELLA KENDRICK appropriates images of cows from cattle catalogs, where the vernacular photography captures each animal with precise uniformity. Kendrick composes groupings of these images in systematic sequences that suggest a framework of meaning and sense-making that liberates the cows from their context as commodity.
LILLY MCELROY’s photographs and videos investigate our instinct to control. With a sense of playfulness, McElroy enacts fantasies of control over natural phenomenon. In Pushing Down a Sapling, a dual video, McElroy violently hurls herself at a tree until she and her inert opponent are both visibly damaged.
DAVID ROBBINS produces videos that, unlike most television, put visuals ahead of story. In The County Line (2011/2015), Robbins animates musing conversations from a camping trip, in a video that blends recorded footage with images and text. Another series of videos appropriates the format of public service announcements to alert us to aspects of our constructed reality. These short and punchy videos question cultural precepts about the imagination, the garden, the avant garde, and the suburbs.
Questions about the nature of knowledge and observation form a continuous undercurrent in NATHANIEL ROBINSON’s work. Repose (2015), a cast resin sculpture resembling an architectural model, depicts a simple building beside two piles of a granular substance, similar to dirt. The title alludes to the angle of repose theory, a method for calculating the shape a pile of granular material will assume depending on its density, surface area, and friction. The pile’s form is dictated by its nature.
CLAIRE SHERMAN makes large-scale landscape paintings of unoccupied nature that express its sublime and fearsome beauty. Sherman’s Dirt paintings suggest claustrophobic views of a tumultuous natural world. The paintings’ weighty materiality and poverty of color evoke a sense of brooding dread.