Jackson Junge Gallery presents Scapes, their first group exhibition of 2023 which includes over 40 artists. Meant to pique your interest, we ask the question: what can be a scape?

Landscapes and cityscapes might be the first to come to your mind, but what about seeing lines turn into roads or mountains? Or portraits becoming a map of curves and shapes that reflect the horizon? Jackson Junge Gallery challenges artists and viewers to question what a scape can be and how art can transform into something completely different than what it may seem on the surface.

Scapes includes a variety of styles and mediums to question the notion of scapes in art. A traditional landscape may have a foreground, background, and horizon line, but the intention behind a more abstract piece could question what it is to create a field of imagination for viewers to explore. One of the participating artists, Cynthia Lee, describes her piece as a “Memory-scape.” She explains Holding Light as a visual exploration of space in time. Using language like “layered” and “borders” associates the work with a map even though it may not appear that way. The rectangular shape that creates the subject matter looks like a frame, and for Lee, that frame holds memories. However, from a viewer’s perspective, it can be a window into their own imagination of what may lie beyond the veil. The white void that sits in for the background in Holding Light acts as a blank canvas for viewers to imagine their own memories behind the frame.

Not the only nonrepresentational piece in Scapes, Kathleen Roman and her painting Sealed in Amber could also be considered just another abstract artwork. However, the artist explains it as “An imaginary place, though it resembles many places that I have known that have a special meaning for me. It's perhaps a composite of several of them.” Roman utilizes layers of cold wax to act as individual imaginary scapes and in the process, builds textural scapes that can be seen in the painting. Grooves, curves, and bumps in the piece create a topographical scene for the viewer, as well as a theoretical one. Also featured in SCAPES is in-house artist Sam Arnold, who uses a similar technique in her practice. After building up thick layers of color to represent trees and clouds, Arnold contours them with black lines to find a new way to define the landscape.

Considered a little more of a classical scape, Frisky Free Throws by Bumpy Wilson has a clear, linear horizon and one singular tree. However, the striking black background flattens out the painting and turns the piece into a stage for your imagination. There’s a blue basketball backboard that floats in the composition, as if the pole blended into the dark background. When you think of a landscape, strong detail and texture tends to be required to capture the reality of what we see. For Wilson, his goal is to flatten that reality and still make it feel believable that you’ve been there before. Just like with Lee’s Holding Light, Wilson is invoking memories that viewers may have of playing outside at night with the harsh streetlight illuminating the closet tree.

My First Chopper, painted by Brooke Raven, on the other hand, is much more detailed with a hyper-realistic background. At odds with a supposedly serene landscape, a giant Cabbage Patch doll takes up most of the frame as it destroys a helicopter as if it were a parade balloon come to life. A humorous spin on a detailed landscape of a suburban town, Raven uses the scape to tell a story. “Using real, existing elements like street corners, silos, pickup trucks, blue rural skies, and a vintage Cabbage Patch doll I inherited to serve as a stand-in for the storyteller, I set the stage and place the viewer back in my small hometown landscape.” The use of satire in this painting gives the scape depth and it transforms into more than just a simple landscape of a rural neighborhood. Although more fleshed out than Frisky Free Throws, My First Chopper uses a fictional narrative that leads the viewer away from their own memory and can step inside the mind of the artist instead.

Ellie Vergura, Jackson Junge Gallery’s newest in-house artist, creates a scene of the Pont des Art with a very serene white and tan color scheme. Painted from the artist’s memory of the famous Parisian bridge, the pale composition and shadowed figures provide a way for viewers to place themselves into the scene. Vergura paints as if the viewer were standing by the bridge and can idealize the location all on their own. Along with Vergura, we will also be exhibiting new works by a few other in-house artists: L. Lee Junge, Benjye Troob, Allan Teger, Richard Laurent, James Mesple, and Delphine Pontvieux.

With over 40 artists, Scapes will feature a variety of landscapes, cityscapes, mindscapes, and bodyscapes. Come join us for the opening reception on Friday, June 2nd, 2023, from 6-10pm and decide for yourself what SCAPES can be. Admission is free to the public and the exhibition will be on view through Sunday July 9th, 2023.

Scapes is a collection of artworks by over 40 artists that test the limits of what can be a scape. The exhibition runs June 2nd, 2023 – July 9th, 2023, and is curated by Chris Jackson, Kaitlyn Miller, Jordan Keyes, Maddie Kirmse, and Edith Copp.