Into the Woods: Susan Brearey, Burt Brent, Andrew Haslen, and Chris Maynard

May 24 - Jun 22, 2019

Santa Fe

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Press Release

For artists, nature is a source of endless inspiration. Into the Woods showcases four artists who create works that draw on and respond to the environment in imaginative, whimsical and thought-provoking ways.

The work of Susan Brearey derives its power from a rigorous focus on form. Skirting the boundaries between representation and abstraction, Brearey’s paintings possess a mysterious quality that hints at the sublimity of the wilderness and its denizens. Beautiful, unknowable, and inspiring, wild animals figure prominently in the artist’s oeuvre.

“I am inspired by the peace, beauty and solitude I find in wilderness areas, studying and observing the habitats, plants and creatures with whom we share the planet. At the same time, I know that wilderness in this country is nearly a fiction. All wilderness is managed and bound by our activities. Power and telephone lines, poles, fences and cell towers are everywhere, especially in rural America. I am interested in the visual tensions created by this never-ending stream of interruptions in the contemporary rural landscape. For me, these interruptions are symbolic of a fragmented landscape. Wolves embody the power and raw beauty of wilderness. The call of their spirit awakes a connection to wild things and the natural world.”

World-renowned reconstructive plastic surgeon Burt Brent has enjoyed a lifelong fascination with anatomy and the natural world. While striving for realism as a surgeon, Brent avoids it when sculpting in bronze or steel, stressing the quality of line over anatomical detail. The resulting sculptures convey the grace and sensitivity of animals and the scope of Brent’s imagination.

“Nature has always been a moving and important force in my life. Humans are just one part of the whole web of life. I wouldn’t describe my art as impressionistic, but rather stylized.  I have more fun when I take liberties. I am only limited by the flexibility of my imagination.”

Andrew Haslen’s linocuts and oils are rich in texture and color, capturing the changing light and mood of his extensive field studies. Drawing and painting from an early age, Haslen is completely self-taught and inspired by the landscape and wildlife that surrounds his home in Suffolk, England. A lifelong interest in nature has afforded him extensive knowledge of his subject. Haslen was elected a member of the Society of Wildlife Artists in 1988 and has exhibited at the Society’s annual exhibition every year since, winning multiple awards for his work. Haslen’s work is exhibited in galleries and museums on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. Two books on his work have appeared: The Winter Hare, 2010, published in by Langford Press, and Halcyon, 2014, published by Mascot Media.

“Sometimes I think I am the untidiest artist around, and I get distracted by the discovery of a drawing or painting that I suddenly see in a new light and decide to work on it a bit more. This time it was a sketchbook from 1995 of a trip I made with the Artist for Nature Foundation to the Copper River Delta in Alaska that caught my attention.  We stayed in Cordova and travelled to some very remote areas, including a place called Katela, an old gold mining town abandoned since the early part of the 20th Century. It was springtime and there was an abundance of wildflowers; it felt very fresh and there were vivid colors everywhere. Inside the sketchbook were several drawings and notes of belted kingfishers and a hawk owl. The drawings bought back vivid memories and I decided to make some studies from them, which resulted in this small series of oils.”

Chris Maynard works exclusively with feathers, creating formally inventive shadow boxes that surprise and delight. Each shadow box tells a story encompassing feathers, the bird that shed them, the people who collected them, and their artful manipulation by the artist. Into the Woods marks Chris Maynard’s fourth exhibition at Gerald Peters Gallery. His beautifully written and photographed book, Feathers: Form and Function, will be available for purchase throughout the run of the show.

“My main mission is to promote and foster an appreciation and understanding of the natural world. For many people and cultures, feathers represent us wanting to fly but not being able to do so. They’ve become symbols for healing, achievement, success, transformation. Feathers are bridges between here and the heavens. When we look at them, we have the ability to live in a little bit of a dreamland.”

Gerald Peters Gallery is located at 1005 Paseo de Peralta, just one block from Canyon Road. If you would like additional information, please contact Maria Hajic, Director of Naturalism: Digital images are available upon request.