May 18, 2023
“Naturescapes”: Student Art Exhibition Blends Arts & Environmental Awareness
“Naturescapes,” an art exhibition by Eli Brandt ’23, masterfully weaves his two passions of the environment and art. A nature devotee, Eli Brandt ’23, backpacked in Wyoming for four weeks this past summer while maintaining the trails and building new sections with the National Forest Service. During his free time, Brandt decompresses by exploring the visual medium of printmaking, an avocation he has pursued since the seventh grade. Brandt embarked on an advanced independent study with art teacher Katherine Nicholson this spring to further explore and refine his techniques and processes while developing his artistic voice. His work is displayed in the gallery in the Roberts Theater; you can also find Brandt’s artwork on Craftelised, Etsy, and elibrandt.com.
“Where We’ve Walked” series (monotype and key card drypoint) documents the places where people walk. Brandt sent a card to each participant who affixed it to their shoe and was instructed to walk on different surfaces, whether in Hawaii or Oregon. The cards, worn and scuffed, were returned to Brandt, who printed the cards through the intaglio process. While the participants were on their sojourns, they also took photos of their surroundings which Brandt converted into monotypes.
Brandt took inspiration from the California wild poppies in his vibrant and dramatic reduction woodcut print “Poppy.” He paid special attention to color and the transparency of the ink.
The writeup adjacent to many pieces reflected Brandt’s interest in preserving the ecosystems. For instance, in his pair of linoleum prints “Moss: Magnified and Moss” and “Lawn with Grass,” Brandt examines the beauty of the moss while educating the viewer about the problematic, high-maintenance American lawn.
“Underwater Garbage” (monotype with collagraph) examines the toxic relationship between the natural world and the trash that floats in our oceans.
Each individual has their own unique and intimate experiences with nature. We make our own memories with plants and animals while walking through meadows, cooking with fresh produce, and admiring flowers in our gardens. We also connect with nature as a community and society. Each person’s individual actions collectively impact the environment creating new landscapes in which we must navigate. These series of works urges the viewer to think about their relationship from multiple perspectives.
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