Art and science themed exhibition Un/Natural Occurrences with work by twenty-five artists and collaboratives invites viewers to participate in re-greening the world. The collaboration in this show does not feel contemporary much, but an art book form as a means uniquely arouse the viewer’s insights. Book in nature is both informative and artistic, and its natural presence creates a welcoming and familiar vibe to the viewer. Cluttered works and immense information in a tight setting make the space somewhat like a public library.
Environmental arts or sustainable arts can be done and shown in such a cliché way, however the gallery presents what artist books can do with unnatural issues in poetic way, philosophical way, and sustainable way naturally. This exhibition involves three players: the scientist, the engineer, and the artist. This creative approach from intimate relations between art and science is truly successful and fulfills its purpose. Another fruitful outcome of this show are the various forms of each artist’s conceptual books. Twenty-five artists have resisted the comfort of single-minded interpretation of what artist book can be in contemporary art world. The show contains many forms of book art such as painting, prints, sculpture, postcard, photo, and video art. Plus, the curator, Maddy Rosenberg is including the work of established artists like Tatana Kellner to emerging artists like Travis Childers. This wide arrangement of artists speaks to the young and the old instead of setting to one side, and it separates Central booking from other galleries in LES.
The works documents not only global such as global warming and nuclear waste, but also local environmental issues like climate change in United States. Susan Goethel Campbell depicts the night views of cities, atmospheric phenomena, and patterns of urbanization in a series of relief prints Aerials. The wood grains in her prints interestingly contrast with geometric cityscapes. The relationship between the natural and unnatural (artificial) she plays in her series of prints seems like subtly portraying the whole theme of the show. Artists can bring humanistic elements into environmental issues and arouse others like science can’t.