Context Series: Part I

Fresh! Contemporary Takes on Nature and Allegory

July 1 – December 31, 2006

Organized by the Museum of Glass

Sponsored by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation

Tacoma, Wash. (April 20, 2006)—The Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art presents Fresh! Contemporary Takes on Nature and Allegory, the first exhibition in the Museum’s new Context series which is designed to present works in glass next to works in other media and demonstrate how artists using different practices explore parallel themes. Fresh! examines how contemporary artists, working with a variety of media to create sculpture, painting, photography, drawing, and digital animation, are presenting bold perspectives on nature and reinvigorating the allegorical tradition in visual art. The exhibition opens July 1 and will run through December 31, 2006.

Throughout the ages, artists have looked to nature to illustrate abstract ideas. But according to curator Juli Cho Bailer, who organized the exhibition and wrote the full-color catalogue that accompanies it, “The artists in Fresh! have taken out a license to remake the world.”

The exhibition demonstrates that, even in our high-tech urban society, artists are deeply preoccupied with the natural world, depicting it with both a sense of awe and an understanding of its fragility. The artists represented in Fresh! favor a figurative rather than a literal approach to nature in their works. They draw from a broad range of sources, including personal experience, cinema, science-fiction, fairy tales and electronic media, as well as Baroque, Romantic and Surrealist art. The collected works show nature in a state of deterioration that questions the notion of it as a sanctuary of tranquility, purity or untainted beauty. The distinctly contemporary portrayals of natural subjects play with organic boundaries, parallel universes and imaginary microcosms. The allegories allude to the conflicting desires to battle against and commune with the natural world.

Fresh! includes works from fifteen international artists including Berlinde de Bruyckere, Gordon Cheung, Angelo Filomeno, Andrea Lehmann, Hanna Linden and Hans Op de Beeck from Europe; Xiaoqing (Jenny) Ding, Takagi Masakatsu and Saeko Tagaki from Asia; and Daniel Arsham, Joyce Korotkin, Debora Moore, Lori Nix, Ran Ortner and Marc Swanson of the United States.

Artist Angelo Filomeno will visit the Museum July 12 – 16 for a Visiting Artist residency in the Hot Shop and a lecture and slide presentation on July 16 at 2 p.m. Family programming includes a short theatrical production based on Aesop’s Fables which will be performed in the Museum theater on weekends beginning in July.