Maria Park: Counter Nature 3
Sabina Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, is pleased to present new works by Maria Park, assistant professor of art, entitled Counter Nature 3. This exhibition is the third in a series of shows following Counter Nature and Counter Nature 2 at Margaret Thatcher Projects in New York City and Toomey Tourell Gallery in San Francisco. In Counter Nature 3 Park continues to explore the process of experiencing nature through image. Her highly synthetic paintings force viewers to engage the picture plane in ways that are contrary to the passive act of looking. In Park's previous exhibitions, Counter Nature and Counter Nature 2, snapshots of nature destinations in Niagara National Park, Hanauma Bay, and Half Moon Bay are presented as acrylic paintings on the front and back of sheets of plexiglass. Hard-edged shapes are layered to create an effect that flattens out the picture plane taking away any clear focal points of the image. This effect makes for a nonhierarchical viewing process, forcing the eye to make decisions typically determined by the image-maker's lens. In Counter Nature 3 she has taken the eye away from the spectacle of nature and trained it on seemingly accidental snapshots of mundane crowd scenes.
Accompanying this last part of the Counter Nature series is a catalog that encompasses all three parts of the series with an essay by Patricia C. Phillips. Of this work, Phillips writes, "Through an orchestration of a shallow, spaceless depth of field with an intensification of brilliant colors in brittle fragments, Park engenders heterotopic landscapes and public spaces that are vividly imaginative and undeniably real. Deploying both the expectations of painting with a perceived objectivity of contemporary visual tools, Park creates succinct, compelling images of constitutive dislocation - representations of a sublimity dynamically reconfigured in the increasingly contested spaces of nature, culture, and technology."
She has exhibited both nationally and internationally at venues such as the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Seoul National University Museum of Art, and is the recipient of awards including the M.F.A. Grant Award from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Korea Arts Foundation of America Award. Currently, she resides in Ithaca, NY where she is an assistant professor in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University. She is represented by Margaret Thatcher Projects in New York and Toomey Tourell Fine Art in San Francisco.