press release

Opening reception: Thursday, 17 May 2007 5-7pm

1301PE is pleased to announce the opening of I Don’t Do Nature featuring works by Jennifer Nocon, Diana Thater and Paul Winstanley. In JK Huysmans' 1884 novel ‘Against Nature’ the protagonist Des Essentes contends that, "nature has had her day; there is not a single one of her inventions that human ingenuity cannot manufacture... She has exhausted the admiration of all true artists... and the time has come for artifice to take her place". The word ‘natural’ and the concept of nature are very much in vogue, as it is often referenced by politicians, advertisers, religious leaders, as well as in everyday discourse. Rather than exploring the meaning of nature, it is too often exploited as a tool of ideological manipulation. To say “it is not natural” or “it is against nature” implies “it is wrong”. Yet, we, humans, create our environment. Almost every inhabited place in the Earth is partly artificial, to some degree. Through the juxtaposition of works by Nocon, Thater and Winstanley I Don’t Do Nature explores how the basic concept of nature is being rethought. The exhibition reveals that nature once assumed to be vast and inexhaustible has come to seem fragile and imperiled; and that nature once thought to be independent from culture, has now come to be recognized as a cultural creation.

British painter Paul Winstanley speaks directly to our human condition in a post-war period. His paintings are familiar places built in a time of hope for a future of social order and prosperity. These walkways, waiting rooms, TV lounges, highway service stations, lobbies are the in between places. Winstanley’s work directly speaks to the reality that nearly every inhabited place of earth is partly artificial, in his paintings we are confronted with our attempts to create artificial environments and the signifiers embedded within these constructs.

Since the early 1990’s Los Angeles based artist Diana Thater has been a pioneer of video and film installations. The natural world has been a recurring motif in her work, bringing the outdoors in and addressing the relationship between modern technology and notions of beauty and the sublime. Thater looks to nature as a subject in her work because it is inherently non-narrative. Moreover, she has discovered that “natural” spaces are models for the spatial ideas she seeks to produce. It is in her editing techniques that it is made clear the constructed relationship between humans and nature but never to confuse. Not privileging any one perspective, Thater insists that the presence of technology, only makes the natural sublime stand out more starkly for example, in the presence of the computer, the flower becomes an alien.

Los Angeles based artist Jennifer Nocon’s work takes as a visual point of departure the early nature films of Jean Painlevé sharing his credo “science is fiction”. Her intricate floor sculptures stem from her observations occurring patterns in nature and how we mimic these patterns in human behavior. The hand-dyed, wool-felt sculptures form open, intuitive patterns that have a visual language all of their own. Nocon’s sculpture installations celebrate the power of the imagination, the diversity of nature and explore the realm into where these forces meet.

I Don't Do Nature
Jennifer Nocon, Diana Thater, Paul Winstanley