Opening Reception: Saturday, April 6, 4-7 pm
Third Thursday Reception: April 18, 6-9 pm

Atlantic Works Gallery presents In the Woods: Nature-Inspired Paintings and Drawings by Joan Ryan and Julie C Baer. The exhibition will run from April 5 through April 28, 2024. 

The impetus for Ryan’s work is what the Naturalists and Romantic Landscape painters referred to as Ruckenfigur, a figure placed in a sprawling landscape contemplating life’s quandaries. Ryan replaces the human figure in that sense with the discarded objects from Western culture, specifically the iconic and nostalgic television set. Ryan’s paintings contrast a lush, unabashedly beautiful “nature” to objects such as discarded TV monitors and computers “techno/trash.” On view in the exhibition is an installation of 300 5×7 small works called “Street Life”, a survey of discarded televisions  in one Boston neighborhood. Along with this installation are large mixed-media drawings that represent an entropic outlook on our propensity for consumption.

Julie C Baer’s work captures her close observation and sensory impressions of being in the natural world: the shifting light, variegated colors, constant movement, regular yet unique shapes, and visual patterns. Her paintings trace the seasonal unfolding of natural life cycles within local ecosystems. Baer works abstractly, yet botanically accurately, aiming to surprise viewers with unusual views and compositions, to induce them to look and look again, just as she has done. The artist is exquisitely aware that, though nature is our collective home, humans have caused irreparable habitat, resource, and species loss. Her work, thus, responds to ecologists’ call for native ecosystem rediscovery and restoration, and collectively embodies biodiversity. This work offers ongoing opportunities for discovery, inviting viewers to go outdoors and look around, to care for themselves and their own habitats. 

Shown above: Joan Ryan, Ruinlust (left), Julie C Baer, Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) in Fennel (Foeniculum valgare) (right)