Jonathan LeVine Projects is pleased to present Primordial Tourists, a solo exhibition by artist Susannah Martin, the third place winner of the Delusional Art Competition in 2018. This will be our inaugural online-only exhibition.
In her work, Martin seeks to contemporize the classic theme of the nude in a landscape; “I have always been fascinated by how artists throughout history have chosen to represent our interconnection with nature through the nude and how these choices reflect their epoch”. Looking back throughout art history, she explains, we witness the passage from the integration of man and nature in the works of the primordial cave dwellers to the slow and steady alienation culminating in the nearly complete disconnect that we see today in contemporary art.
For example, Martin writes, the re-birth of “The Bather” as a genre in the late 18th and 19th-century painting coincided with the dawn of the industrial revolution. This was a clear attempt to hold on to or glorify a harmony between man and nature which was already severely damaged. The 20th century slowly eliminated such scenes for the most part as they became more and more at odds with our reality. “Nature is no longer home to us, she is much more a tourist destination. Certainly, no representation of the nude in a landscape in the 21st century can escape conveying our extreme estrangement from nature, intentional or not.” Realism in the 21st century must include the expanded visual vocabulary of the media world “It is realistic if we accept that realism now includes virtual realism, that is it incorporates a high degree of improbability, a hyperbolic realism.”
Martin´s work encapsulates the tension where natural man meets the technical man. It is a visual expression which acknowledges our collective past, embraces our physical sensual reality while simultaneously surrendering to the seduction of our own intellectual constructions.