Contributed by Sharon Butler / Elizabeth Hazan’s earlier paintings were highly resolved meditations on Google map imagery and aerial landscape views of Long Island’s east end. The terrific new work, recently on display at Johnannes Vogt in a solo show called “Heat Wave,” is moving into a less certain, but, for me, more satisfying state of upheaval and irresolution. Farther removed from physical description, the saturated color and busy linework have moved beyond the map to a realm that paradoxically seems more urgent with respect to the world we live in.
For years, landscape painters whose primary currency is beauty have been relegated to back rooms and project spaces. Now, with the climate crisis upon us, the genre has acquired new gravity. Landscapes have moved past personal metaphor to documentation and a global call to action. But for Hazan the project has always been personal. According to the artist, the paintings in “Heat Wave” are “a mirage of memories … a subtle and pensive look at the passage of time and the nostalgia for a place that will never exist again.” Indeed, as we watch the wild fires burning uncontrolled throughout California, the rapid rate of extinction, the melting of the polar ice caps, and more, most of us can appreciate and lament that state of affairs.
Memories are, by nature, uncertain and to an extent unstable. The new paintings, with their meandering brush work, shifting spatial planes, and loose pools of pigment, masterfully convey the heartache of ambiguity and not knowing.
About the artist (from the gallery website): Elizabeth Hazan has studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the New York Studio School and Bryn Mawr College. In addition to her own artistic practice, Hazan founded Platform Project Space, dedicated to showcasing the work of fellow artists. Her works have been shown in exhibitions at Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA: National Arts Club, New York, NY; LABspace, Hillsdale, NY; Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York, NY; and Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.
“Elizabeth Hazan: Heat Wave,” Johannes Vogt, 958 Madison Ave., New York, NY. September 5 to October 5, 2019.
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