SEASON HIGHLIGHTS – “NATURAL TRANSCENDENCE” AT OOLITE ARTS MIAMI
This group show curated by Rhonda Mitrani presents artworks that reflect an ethereal sensibility toward nature. During a time when we were forced to stay home, away from public spaces and other people, the relationship between humans and nature shifted, causing a Natural Transcendence, and a renewed sense of gratitude for the natural elements that surrounds us.
“A color stands abroad
on solitary fields
that science cannot overtake
but human nature feels.”
Excerpt from “A Light Exists in Spring” (1891) by Emily Dickinson
The exponential rate of infusion of industry and technology into human existence has created a way of life centered on busy routines in an urban culture that has segregated humanity from nature. The pandemic served as a disruptor to the societal distractions that perpetuated this way of life and provided people with the opportunity to re-integrate with nature. Some began to experience nature’s elevated effects after this period of confinement, creating daily rituals with our own green landscape.
These natural environments are places where we feel a sense of spirituality, generating a deeper connection to one self, to something greater, creating a Natural Transcendence. Just as the Black Death led to the Renaissance and the Spanish Flu fueled the Roaring ’20s, a decade that accelerated the massive developments of the 20th century, perhaps this re-immersion back to Earth’s natural habitat causes a surge for a new environmental movement to be born.
The lens-based artists in this exhibition have been exploring the intersection between humanity and wilderness even prior to the pandemic, but with a new perspective, not just in vast terrains, but in domesticated landscapes, which include parks, bodies of water, quiet walks down their sidewalk and their own backyard.
Through video or photography, these artists provide a visual literacy in their practice by embedding themselves in the landscape or becoming a silent observer. Together they reveal the critical importance of nature in our life, specifically the spiritual, emotion, physical and mental health of human beings. By fusing themselves into the natural world, these artists give us a chance to feel this Natural Transcendence not just as the sublime or as a sense of awe, but hopefully as a wake-up call.
Raised by Cuban and Argentinean parents, Rhonda Mitrani left Miami for the University of Michigan and landed a job in post-production for Miramax Films, New York. She worked as film editor for independent film and television, and her work was seen in festivals like LAIFF and aired on Showtime and HBO Latino. She directed her first documentary, CUBA MIA, which premiered with Miami International Film Festival and broadcast on PBS.
Mitrani is also a video artist, whose exhibits include Dot Fifty One Gallery, Wynwood Art Fair, The Girl’s Club Collection, TRIAD, London, and a solo show at the Boca Museum of Art with her collaborative RPM Project.
In 2013, Mitrani opened The Screening Room to curate and cultivate a new-media exhibition and project space in Miami. The multi-disciplinary space is dedicated to motion-picture which includes video art exhibitions, film workshops and lectures, screenings and space for filmmakers and video artists to work. TSR Miami is a two-time recipient of the Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grant.
Participating Artists: Adler Guerrier, Megan McLarney, Colleen Plumb, Anastasia Samoylova, Jennifer Steinkamp, Wendy Wischer and Antonia Wright
Curated by Rhonda Mitrani
Oolite Art Center, 928 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach