Visions of Nature
Online Exhibition
April 25, 2024 – May 25, 2024

To view the exhibit and read an engaging statement by the juror, Gabriel de Guzman, visit: https://www.sitebrooklyn.com/visions-of-nature.

Artistic engagement with nature brings us near to the beginnings of art as such. These visions always capture a human presence, forming a context for people to tell stories and find meaning in the world they inhabit and, to an ever greater degree, shape. Visions of nature carry a degree of idealization: the enduring vision of a classical Arcadia, the personified worlds of animism and mythology, and site of struggle between purity and corruption. Animals, from depictions of Aurochs in early cave paintings to Picasso’s Boy Leading a Horse (1906), also speak to the highly personal yet fraught relationship between humans and other living creatures. Many of the great artists of history — Vincent van Gogh’s trees, Hokusai’s waves, Albrecht Dürer’s Rhinoceros — had a particular vision of nature that drove their work forward. Site:Brooklyn is looking for work that engages in this tradition, while developing new and innovative forms of expressions.

About the Juror:
Gabriel de Guzman is Director of Arts & Chief Curator at Wave Hill, where he oversees the visual and performing arts program at the public garden and cultural center in the Bronx. He has previously held curatorial positions at Smack Mellon and The Jewish Museum. As a guest curator, he has organized exhibitions for Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, Rush Arts Gallery, En Foco at Andrew Freedman Home, BronxArtSpace, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and other venues. His essays have been published in Nueva Luz: Photographic Journal and in catalogues for the Museum of Arts and Design, Arsenal Gallery at Central Park, Kenise Barnes Fine Art, and the art institutions mentioned above.

About the Gallery:
Site:Brooklyn Gallery is dedicated to exhibiting the current practice of contemporary artists. We are taking Site:Brooklyn online with a new series of interactive exhibitions. Our goal remains the same, to connect artists with an expert and diverse set of jurors through the open call format. Our new program focuses on online open call exhibitions, selected by a cast of new jurors, solo artist features, and spotlights.

Kimberly Callas
Visions of Nature
Artist Statement:

The Climate Crisis isn’t just a crisis for physical and environmental reasons. It is a cosmological crisis where the world as we know it and our place within it is no longer understandable. It is a crisis of meaning. As scientists and activists are frantically trying to save species, landscapes, and whole ecosystems, many of them will tell you – we have the science, what we need now is a shift in consciousness. We need a new understanding of an ecological self, a self within us that still remembers we are nature.

Through my artwork and social practice, I’m interested in building up a symbolic consciousness so that we can create new belief systems that are healthy and life-sustaining. I bring together specific places, species, or persons, with larger nature-based cultural symbols and archetypes. As a sculptor, I take the body and write into it with nature’s patterns and symbols. I combine the body with the star, the wave, bee, and the flower. As an artist, I work with the body as a place of knowing and I rely on the body as part of the land, the piece of land we always inhabit. The body becomes a place of transformation.

I use traditional clay modeling techniques joined with natural materials and emerging technologies to create life-size figures that combine the human body with symbols and patterns from nature, seeking an ‘ecological-self’. I sculpt life-size figures in water-based clay and then cast them into an architectural concrete or bronze or 3D print them. Ground pigments mixed with beeswax or shellac, and natural materials such as wasp paper, bark, roots, and seeds are often used to finish the work. My forms fluctuate between likeness and abstraction to emphasize the tension between the personal and the universal – our desire to hold onto our uniqueness with our need to understand ourselves as a vast, interconnected whole.

My work looks at how we create meaning from nature as a way to bring us back into relationship with nature. To bring the ecological-self work to others, I have created a Social Practice project: Discovering the Ecological SelfDiscovering the Ecological Self is a multi-institutional initiative aimed toward nurturing environmental stewardship and cultivating environmental leadership. The project uses workshops to research and create art from nature-based symbols, patterns, and images that are personally resonant and culturally significant. I facilitate these workshops globally, collaborating with individuals from diverse disciplines, particularly poetry, psychology, and ecology.