As viewers walk into Harris Gallery’s latest exhibit, “Natural Subjects,” they approach with an insect-sized point-of-view on human-sized wooden sculptures and framed microphotography of flora.
Presented by art professors Keith Lord and Nancy Macko, both artists’ works juxtaposed each other, yet shared a similar geometric structure, and related to life and the relationship between humans and nature.
“Keith created four 3D sculptures using remnants and found pieces of wood that appear to be very textural and aged, and reconfigured them to do these sort of balancing tricks and mathematical formed pieces,” Dion Johnson, gallery director, said.
The four untitled pieces stand up to 8 feet tall and include a frame held on a post, an asymmetrical tubular column, a pointed spiral anchored by a stacked pillar of wood and a hanging wood structure made out of hundreds of smaller assembled pieces of wood.
“There’s a quality of balance about all of them and there’s something continuous about the balance, the way they stand, or the fact that they hang evenly; there’s a sense of symmetry in all of them,” Lord said.
Macko’s nine vivid photos lined the walls and depicted the full bloom to aging process in lilies, peonies and artichokes on abstractly shaped frames with her microphotography.
“It’s so fascinating to see things really close up, and I wanted to print (the photos) at large scale so that the viewer could see what I see through the camera lens,” Macko said.
“I’m really interested in looking at the cycle of the life and death, and in particular life and the aging process,” she said.
Viewers took notice of Macko’s micro lensed photography and the contrast of colors in comparison to Lord’s different shades of aged wood used in the sculptures.
“I love how bright the colors of the photos are, and how deep and rich the wood is in the sculptures,” said Alexandria Light, freshman liberal studies major.
“I can personally connect with this exhibit because I am an outdoorsy person, and for a moment, this gallery places you outdoors and in contact with nature,” she said.
Lord is an art professor and the chair of the department of art and art history at the University.
He uses a lot of woodwork in his own art, and has shown exhibitions all around the world, from Italy and Canada, to Cleveland and California.
“This is the first time I have done a two-person show, and I really enjoy the way Nancy and my works compliment each other,” Lord said.
Macko is a professor of art, the chair of Gender and Women’s Studies and the director of Scripps Digital Art Program at Scripps college in Claremont.
Much of her work is shot with a micro lens, and she has presented her photography in numerous exhibits, all relating to the theme of nature.
“I have been photographing botanical specimens, not only flowers, but also plants with a macro lens at a very close range for many years now,” Macko said.
“It’s really important to see how he (Johnson) installed the photographic work in relation to the sculptural work so that they are not intruding on each other, but there is a nice conversation in between the sculpture and the photography,” she said.
Natural Subjects will run through May 22 at the Harris Gallery.
Erum Jaffrey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.