The landscape is something we often take for granted. Every once in a while, we might take the time to slow down, appreciate that space where the land meets the sky and use that beauty, vastness and wonder to gain access into something within ourselves.
If you've ever wondered what some of the most heralded artists of the 20th century saw when they looked at their natural surroundings, you'll find out this weekend, when The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky opens Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection.
This exhibition will be the second that the museum has hosted featuring the works from the extensive Wells Fargo Collection.
Janie Welker, curator of exhibitions and collections for the museum, said that visitors might have seen landscape paintings before, but there's a good chance they haven't seen any quite like this.
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"It's landscape, but it's a lot of abstraction and a lot of really interesting ways of looking at the landscape," she said.
The exhibition features iconic figures of 20th-century art. Nature becomes much brighter in the eyes of pop artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. The mix of abstraction and rich colors in the signature works of Helen Frankenthaler transform destinations like Bilbao, Spain, and the Red Sea into something otherworldly. Installation artists Christo and Jean-Claude showcase a glimpse of their Running Fence installation, which ran for 24 miles through the hills of Sonoma County, Calif. Artist Kiki Smith manages to turn her own body into a piece of cartography with My Blue Lake.
Welker said many of these pieces came about from the direction art was going during the 1900s, but they're also a reflection of something deeper within each artist that the landscape inspires.
"I think a lot of people feel spiritual association with the land and nature, and I think a lot of artists tapped into that," she said.
The Art Museum is opening its Landscape/Mindscape exhibition just as the weather begins to inspire more people to go outside. In a way, Welker said, she thinks the timing couldn't be better.
"On one level, it sort of challenges your perceptions on how you see the landscape," she said. "On the other hand, it's a very joyful exhibition," she said. "It's full of light color. It's a great summer show."