Moments of surprise and unexpected discoveries will greet visitors in A Walk in the Woods, a small, focus exhibition nestled in the Early American Art Galleries.
Drawing inspiration from our recent summer show, Nature’s Nation, and the way American art compels us to consider our relationship to the environment, this exhibition guides visitors through selections of the Crystal Bridges collection, as if experiencing a walk in the woods.
In essence, this show weaves two narratives.
The first, more apparent one, is about the passage of time. Guests will move through space as if transitioning between seasons. They will start in the lush, overgrown fullness of the forest in spring, but gradually progress through summer and fall to end among a dormant forest in winter.
This change is accentuated by concluding the show with Neil Welliver’s massive snowy scene, Snow on Alden Brook, in which he depicts a different kind of beauty, now forged in quiet and stillness.
The other narrative arc deals with the concept of desire: the woods as a beautiful retreat to be pined after (no pun intended) and the very human urge to possess that beauty through different means. The glowing pink light of Patrick Jacobs’s Pink Forest looks at the woods as a kind of utopian-oasis.
Other works in the exhibition span hundreds of years, from nineteenth-century oil paintings and drawings, to twenty-first-century photographs, and a litany of different approaches by people trying to understand, document, and master the natural world in all its wild, overgrown beauty.
A Walk in the Woods opens in the Early American Art Gallery on Saturday, August 31 and will be on display until March 10, 2020. It is free for all visitors.
This post was written by Alejo Benedetti, Assistant Curator.