Devan Horton, Brandi Long, Doug Davis, Priya Rama, and Rob Robbins
Nature can be many different things. It is the environment around us, the ecosystem sustaining us, and the instincts woven into our very being. Nature can help create a culture, a cuisine, a religion; but in its fullness, it is also full of contradictions. It creates in the same breath that it breaks down. It inspires awe as it does fear. It is the deepest ocean in the same way it is the farthest star. Our relationship with it is similarly complex. It is key to our survival, yet we destroy it. It fosters our wellbeing, yet we isolate ourselves from it. It is untamable, yet we still try to contain it. Somehow all of these things can be true.
And somehow, the art created in its name can address all of these things. From the Hudson River School capturing the sublime beauty of untouched America, to the Land Artists creating ever-changing works from mud, stone, and grass, nature has been the subject and the tools of artists since the dawn of time. Whether realistic or heavily stylized, representational or abstract, artists have always been attracted to depicting nature and their own personal or cultural relationship with it.
This fall, 1628 is thrilled to be showcasing 27 primarily local and regional artists in Deeply Rooted, Deeply Held, which speaks to the continuation of this millennia long dance between artists and the world they find themselves in. It explores our extraordinary planet and our connection to it – the emotions it inspires, the comfort (or danger) it brings – and urges us to appreciate and protect it, to closely hold what has been rooted within us for so long. Featured in this show are artists Devan Horton, Brandi Long, Doug Davis, Priya Rama, and Rob Robbins.
Devan Horton is a Northern Kentucky artist who creates oil paintings to call attention to the ongoing issue of waste in our culture. Since receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Northern Kentucky University, Devan has exhibited in local and national galleries, including Manifest Gallery, Caza Sykes Gallery, and most recently a solo exhibition of her series Penchant at Buckham Gallery in Flint, Michigan. Devan frequently turns to nature, specifically hoping to correct ways in which human activity has corrupted nature. Devan’s most recent work confronts her audience’s relationship with garbage in hopes to convince others that even with the endless social and economic issues compounding around us, our planet is always of the utmost importance, and we, as a species, must work together to preserve its beauty for generations to come.
“As an artist, I use my paintings as my voice to fight for what I feel is important: the environment. I tend to focus on the overlooked micro-life of a landscape because we often forget the important roles these systems play in the overall success of an ecosystem. This work focuses on the mysteries of fungi, where color and composition bring my viewers into their cryptic realms. Not only have mushrooms helped shape our natural world by cleaning up the dead and bringing life anew, but they offer humans incredible health benefits and culinary treasures. I hope to spark a curiosity for the small and inspire us to slow down and bring about a more mindful awareness to our surroundings.”
Brandi Long was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She first became interested in art when she was around the age of fifteen. In her early years, she mainly painted and used her artmaking as a means of therapy. Losing both her parents in her early twenties led Long to rethink her perspective on life. At this time she fell in love with the fiber arts. Fiber Can be a very general word that covers a multitude of techniques. Her current work is mixed media-based sculptures that highlight her connection to nature, for nature.
“My work incorporates lost and forgotten objects such as antique books. As humans, we are deeply rooted and held by items and stories we are told as we grow up. Taking what was once lost and bringing it back to life through my practice is one way I give back to nature. With my mixed media sculptures, I am looking to re-establish a connection to nature, through nature.”
Doug Davis is a painter living and working in Highland County, Ohio. His work focuses on telling the story of his rural surroundings through the medium of gouache.
“These paintings are completed strictly on site ‘en plein air’. They focus on scenes found only in nature.”
Priya Rama‘s art is born from her chronic migraines. When one begins, along with the pain and pressure, colors and shapes appear in her mind’s eye. These get transformed into hyperchromatic paintings. An abstract expressionist, her paintings highlight a spontaneous, intuitive, and personal mark-making, with rich color and palpable texture. Her paintings especially explore dualities– of pain/beauty, emphatic color/delicate brush lines, rich details/quiet resting spots, spontaneity/deliberate placement, translucency/opacity, and contemplation/assertion. Priya thinks of her paintings as self-portraits, because as she says, “My art is part of me and I am part of my art”. Priya has been interviewed for CBS’ ‘Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley”, which aired on February 16, 2020, as well as WebMD. She has also been interviewed for multiple print and online publications, as well as radio, and has presented to several art therapy groups. Priya’s paintings can be found in private and corporate collections around the country.
“My paintings emerge from within. They are part of an ongoing conversation with myself that I have had since my childhood. The process is entirely natural, one that I cannot separate from myself. My works affirm the importance of resilience during moments of frequent stress, embracing that which is deeply-rooted within me.”
Rob Robbins is an internationally exhibited visual artist who explores issues of social, political and environmental conflict through landscape as subject. His large-scale paintings, on the surface, appear straight-forward, but on closer inspection leaves the viewer to contemplate their position in the world. Robbins received his MFA in Painting/Printmaking from Yale University and his BFA in Fine Arts from the Columbus College of Art and Design. His work has been awarded fellowships from the Macdowell Colony, the Ohio Arts Council and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Robbins’s work has been exhibited at the Chateau Museum (Rochefort-En-Terre), Sears / Peyton Gallery (NY), Lydon Fine Arts in Chicago, the Carnegie Center for the Visual Arts (KY), among others. His work is included in the collections of the Nord Family Foundation, the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Ohio State University. Robbins is a Professor of Art and Chair of the Art Department at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
“This work explores the confluence and conflation of time, space, the natural world and the artificial world in our complicated lives. My paintings express the feeling of simultaneously being in nature and separate from it. These paintings are about traveling at speed, the ephemerality of sensory memory. They are about being in multiple states and places all at once. They are as much about what we forget as what we remember, and how technology is changing how we experience nature.”
Multiple pieces in this exhibition are for sale. If you are interested in purchasing any artwork from the show, please contact us at email@example.com.