In her installation-based exhibition titled I Make My Own Weather at the MAC in Dallas, Bonny Leibowitz explores the validity of social constructs and the reliability of acquired or assumed perceptions, implying separateness, otherness and disconnection. Leibowitz’s work utilizes and expounds upon the landscape painting traditions of idealized histories, such as the Hudson River School, Romanticism, and Baroque. The installations act as deconstructed paintings, as though walking through fragments of represented landscapes—a tree root painted epoxy green, an Astro turf tarp in the shape of a pond, a peeling away of a blue sky.
The idea of humans as outside the natural world, and nature as pristine and untouched is collapsed by the realities of the climate crisis. Leibowitz says that many of these mythic histories served to objectify nature, and support and justify the exploitation of land and people—vast and open space waiting to be explored, dominated, and settled as a divine mission to expand westward regardless of the environmental and human consequences. Nature is no longer separate from human culture and technology and our understanding of the “natural” world is influenced by human intervention.
Plesae guide us through the show
Bonny Leibowitz: As you come into the exhibition, you see Cascade as an Object, pointedly separated from the expected natural environment. The next piece you encounter is in the center of the room, Tree – Under Construction – majestic environment included. I started this piece with a photo of a tree cropped tightly to the edges and placed on a foam board standing cut-out. The base is in the same shape, reflected on the floor. In the back of the piece, I painted a likeness of a historical landscape painting, think Thomas Cole, and added some large tree bark in the shape of a shattered tree trunk behind. I found the thick heavy bark when driving through the neighborhood, the fallen bark from a tree was likely hit by lightning. Portions of the painting pull away from the foam exposing the unembellished substate.
The work gradually shifts in the next space to deeper earthier tones, bright greens and pinks. As in the first room, all areas of the space are engaged, wall ceiling and floor. Here you see A Peek At There, a 6’ x4’ painting on Lokta paper shaped like a pond. Reflected in shape by a printout of astroturf on the floor with a strange, winged object lying in its midst. What Is A Garden? Is a large tree-like shaped painting, hanging from the ceiling, with a print of Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, clipped to the back of the hanging painting,
In the 3rd area, the space transitions via Conduit, a large tree root on the floor coated in a smooth shimmering green epoxy, with a sensibility of the super-natural. We now experience the raindrop / teardrop installation—large foam pieces in fluorescent colors stand on the floor and one on a rolling table, as if being able to travel your cloud around on a rolling cart. Teardrop shaped Images on the wall are detail shots of the foam pieces printed, cut and applied to the wall.
Leibowitz invited Gabriela Morawetz to show a video installation titled Healing, which invokes the interconnectedness of the metaphysical and the real.
Gabriela Morawetz: Certain experiences would take the shape of the real, yet we are deeply convinced to explore the mysteries. Just like dreams that are seemingly meaningless, they play with absurdity and are nevertheless grounded in some reality. Because of their mysterious and unexpected nature, they are often interpreted as encrypted messages. They interact in a circular way in constant metamorphosis and connect the sphere of unconsciousness with nature in both ways. For several years I was exploring the ways in which the supernatural phenomenon can influence our pragmatic perception of the world. The scientific information and the images coming to us daily are not contradicting the sphere of the unknown but rather enlarge the field of imagination. My own position is based on skeptical credulity. That is an endless territory to be crisscrossed.
The perception of the space becomes very different when someone keeps the equilibrium facing the sky while floating above the surface of the earth. When we find ourselves in such a position the notion of time falls apart – the instant becomes eternity. Our body is the point of union between the earth and the sky.
Seeking equilibrium seems paradoxical yet I see it as the goal of existence.
I Make My Own Weather – Bonny Leibowitz at The MAC Dallas, Texas and a video installation by Gabriela Morawetz The exhibition runs May 6th — June 17th, 2023
About Bonny Leibowitz: Leibowitz produces objects, installations and paintings utilizing a multitude of materials in ways that often disguise their origin, blurring the boundaries between the manufactured and the natural. Her solo exhibitions include The MAC, Dallas, TX, The Art Gallery at Collin College, Plano, TX, Terrain Dallas, The Baugh Center for the Visual Arts at UMHB, Belton TX, No.4 Studio in Brooklyn, NY, The Neon Heater in Findlay, OH, Liliana Bloch Gallery in Dallas, TX, Art Cube Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA, The Museum of Art, MSU in Wichita Falls, TX and Cohn Drennan Contemporary, Dallas, TX. She has participated in numerous group shows both nationally and internationally. Originally from Philadelphia, Leibowitz lives in Dallas, TX where she maintains her studio practice.
About Gabriela Morawetz: Morawetz was born in Poland, graduated from the Academy of Fine Art in Krakow. From 1975 to 1983, she resided in Caracas, Venezuela, where she got a scholarship from the National Council of Culture. She then represented Venezuela and Poland in numerous international exhibitions of prints and drawings. Since 1983, she lives and works in Paris. She works in different fields of visual arts. From the 90s she gradually moved from painting and engraving to photography. She produces three-dimensional works based on photography, videos and installations. Gabriela has exhibited in numerous galleries all over the world. Her work was included in several exhibitions in the museums or cultural institutions: Museo de Arte Contemporeaneo MACSI , Caracas / solo show, Fondation Canal in Madrid, Museum of Japanese Art &Technology in Cracow/ solo show, Zacheta in Warsaw, Chicago Cultural Center, Loyola University of Art (LUMA) in Chicago, San Antonio Museum of Art in California, Yerba Buena Art Center in San Francisco, Rubin New York Museum of Art, Biwako Biennial in Ohmi Hachi Man, Japan. Currently she is represented in Beijing, China by see+gallery and Anzenberger Gallery in Vienna , Austria .