The three women artists in "Nutured Nature" impose paint, yarn and thread on top of 2-dimensional landscapes and over 3-dimensional, natural objects, adding artifice to the natural world and conveying a delicacy, fragility, and sensitivity. Through a cohesive assembling of seemingly disparate materials and visual elements, Esther Traugot, Sara Frantz and Marie Yoho Dorsey question who's really in control: the natural landscape, or human intervention and engineering?
Esther Traugot's crocheted "skins" covering pods and seeds render these organs delicate and vulnerable rather than protected and ensconced. With their crocheted blankets, these seeds will never become fertilized and blossom. Making the pods beautiful essentially neuters them.
Sara Frantz's graphite drawings of natural landscapes are graphic, minimalist yet detailed, and matter-of-fact. She presents trees, fields and hills in black and white, superimposing buildings in gouache. While one would expect these choices to emphasize the human-built architecture, it's the quiet of the natural landscapes that captivates and haunts us. It feels as though the trees are whispering in some of these images; one wonders what secrets they hold.
Trails and constellations of embroidery on top of etchings on rice-paper-thin sheets comprise Marie Yoho Dorsey's works. The paper is so fine that one can see the trail of thread behind the embroidered drawings. This adds texture and a sense of layering and even history, while also giving the works an ethereal quality. The vague landscapes, which sometimes include figures, seem to have little thematic relation to the decorative geometry of the embroidery, yet the compositions are captivating. The linear, geometric embroidery, which sometimes includes traditional techniques like Japanese Sashiko, adds levity to the often dense, dark etchings. There is a playfulness to the thread, and a contrasting gravitas to the prints.
The show will be on view until March 9, 2014