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Julia Hechtman, Sue McNally,
Drive-By is happy to present Scenery: Landscapes by Julia Hechtman, Sue McNally, and Hilary Tolan. Landscape painting is a genre that is continually being revisited. This exhibition presents the work of three artists who push the definition of landscape, while acknowledging the tradition.
Julia Hechtman's video Disruption is a continuous loop showing the ghostly relection of the artist standing in leafy greener, while gazing steadily at her image mirrored on the shimmering surface of a lake or pond. Small drips ruffle the water's surface, and at one point a larger splash temporarily disrupts the reflection . . . only to have it reappear seconds later. Hechtman references Narcissus in her artist's statement, but the true meaning of the pieces revolves around the teetering struggle between the psychologically charged image of the woman and the physicality of the water's surface.
Sue McNally's paintings bring to mind the mix of Abstraction and Regionalism found in the work of Marsden Hartley and Albert Pynkham Ryder. Like them, she appreciates clouds reflected on water and horizons with dramatic skies. McNally states that she is interested in creating an accurate representation of the scene that she is painting, while allowing the act of painting to lead her towards abstraction. This modest description of her work belies an underlying love of the landscape that imbues McNally's paintings with a rustic energy bordering on the mystical.
An interesting feature of the word scenery is that it connotes both natural and staged landscapes. Hilary Tolan takes viewers into a world where organic materials, grasses, roots, and rocks, coexist alongside their artificial stand-ins, silk and plastic replicas. In Tolans's series Vanitas, fabric flowers are coated with wax and placed inside acrylic boxes along with fragments of natural materials. Tolan's installations, drawings, and photographs explore imagined landscapes where elemental bits of nature are extracted from their eco-ystems to become defunct objects, no longer able to fulfill their intended purpose.