The Painting Center is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by Marianne Van Lent. Cosmology is a branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of the universe, a study of its origins, and the eventual fate of the cosmos. The exhibition: “Cosmologies” is an investigation and a reaction to our fragile position in the universe.
Filtered through memory, the work examines the interactions of landscape and the eternal forces of the physical world. Van Lent maintains a dialogue with the Northern Romantic tradition of nineteenth century painting, where nature takes on emotional states. In the romantic tradition fantasy allied deep-rooted fears of nature. This premise serves as a catalyst for the painting oeuvre.
The mystery of nature, magical in its wondrous beauty and threatening in its uncharted force, is at the heart of the work. Nature’s forces are becoming increasingly volatile, threatening and uncertain. More than twenty years ago Paul MacCready, a pioneer of environmentally responsible design said, “In a world where less than 5% of the world’s area remains completely undeveloped and is in the process of completely disappearing” our earth and waters are environmentally threatened by toxins which are poisoning us. The threat of the imbalance of our natural world lurks behind the picture plane. Pictorial fields are sometimes shifted and perspectives skewed. Visual perceptions of light and color suggest a place or a state of mind. Light and space create a transformative element evoking a metaphysical reality and an unconscious sensibility. Scenes from nature and other real world phenomena are not described for their own sake, but represent a perceptible vision in a social and metaphysical consciousness. The surface interest adds to a notion of timelessness and a suggestion of the ancient and evolved nature of the earth’s landscape. Ms. Van Lent employs an ancient fresco secco technique; the image is detached and set adrift from its original context, giving consideration to both an ancient and recent history.