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Adam Straus: Even the 21st Century Longs for the Sublime
February 10, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pmFree
New York – Recent paintings by Adam Straus will be on view at Nohra Haime Gallery, 730 Fifth Avenue, from February 11 – March 21, 2015. In his new body of work, Even the 21st Century Longs for the Sublime, Straus offers a satiric take on landscape painting, often referencing the technology we use to view the natural world.
Straus has always found inspiration in the work of the 19th century American landscape painters that portrayed the tremendous vastness and beauty of the country. His recent paintings take a distinctly 21st century approach, tweaking traditional painting styles. “Awe is everywhere but it’s becoming more and more cropped.” Straus notes.
By using mosaic imagery and abstraction, Straus alters the landscape in the way a digital image can break up, creating a metaphor for the disappearance of nature.
“My 11-year old son got me interested in Instagram. I kept looking at how the rectangle is divided up. What interested me was the
new universal language that is part image, part blank space with symbols,” Straus says. The paintings Shared Air, 2014, and
Shared Long Island Sound, 2014, juxtapose images of nature with Instagram’s cropping and specific directions to the user.
Straus focuses on the loss of land to development in Green Space, 2014, which is inspired by a photograph taken behind a Target store on the East End of Long Island and a favorite George Inness painting from 1887 of a moonrise. The left part of the canvas is slightly broken up into a mosaic pattern, a comment on the rapid disappearance of green space. Like a number of the paintings in the exhibition, Green Space is painted on a rough jute canvas, which further breaks up and shifts the image so it is slightly out of focus.
A series of small diptychs from 2012-14, wryly entitled Monuments, are intended to create a larger presence than their size. By juxtaposing a representational image on the left and a non-representational image on the right, Straus explores elements of time and change. Oncoming Storm depicts Hurricane Sandy approaching Long Island next to a stark black and gray abstraction.
Work by Adam Straus can be found in museum collections as corporate and private collections. Born in Miami in 1956, Adam Straus lives and works on the North Fork of Long Island.