Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Evanston Art Center exhibit ‘Horizons’ challenges traditional landscape art

Rose Carlson / The Daily Northwestern
Mary Farmilant’s “Natura Consonat” hangs in the Evanston Art Center for “Horizons,” open until Nov. 5.

There is a forest inside the Evanston Art Center. 

Printed on tall swaths of fabric and designed by local artist Mary Farmilant, the forest sways and bends in reaction to its surroundings.

“I’d never really experienced these oak forests before meeting my husband and going up north to visit his mom,” Farmilant said. “I kept trying to identify what this feeling was … I realized I was sort of in a trance being in the forest like that.”

Farmilant seeks to bring the experience of immersion in a forest, also known as forest bathing, to urban spaces through her work. Her installation “Natura Consonat” is one of five in the Evanston Art Center’s current show, “Horizons.” 

The show had its opening reception Friday and closes Nov. 5. “Horizons” features artists Nina Weiss, Kellie Klein, Mary Farmilant, Renee Robbins and Annie Briard. Featured works span artistic mediums and explore the natural world. 

Weiss said the artists’ works are all different iterations of landscape art.  

“(The) bigger picture is we need landscape.” Weiss said. “We need nature. It is calming, it is important, it is beneficial. This shows people that there’s other ways to think about landscapes, completely non-traditional.”

Originally from Long Island, New York, Weiss said she was struck by the expanses of prairies and cornfields she found after moving to the Midwest. She explores the layers and depth of these natural scenes through her paintings.

Photographer Kellie Klein also takes inspiration from her Midwestern surroundings. When her father was suffering from pancreatic cancer, Klein said she found solace along the shores of Lake Michigan.  

“I would walk along the beach just trying to get my head together, to keep from bringing my sadness into the house,” Klein said. “The lake was really therapeutic for me.” 

Much of Klein’s installation, “Meditations on Water,” uses long-exposure photography to capture the different temperaments of Lake Michigan and other bodies of water. Klein said the natural world can often serve as a powerful metaphor for human emotion and a reminder that there are things much greater than our own personal lives. 

Briard, a Canadian artist, also examines the changing nature of landscape through her installation, which includes accompanying 3-D glasses that make Briard’s photos pop out of the two-dimensional space. 

In contrast, Robbins said she often views things from a close perspective. Robbins uses her paintings to draw focus to parts of nature that may go unnoticed and said she hopes her art helps create wonder.

“(I want to) amplify people’s curiosity about the natural world and to learn about the magical universe that surrounds us that we maybe don’t even think about: like the magical patterns in blades of grass or the tree bark,” Robbins said. 

Email: [email protected]  

Twitter: @roselcarlson

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