From the Ground Up

Isaiah Zagar landscape painting
Isa­iah Zagar’s Islands of Nova Sco­tia, 1973 — a pre-mosa­ic paint­ing

Like embed­ded jour­nal­ists, Peter Kin­ney, Isa­iah Zagar and Jeff War­ing have made the work in this show as ‘embed­ded’ artists, bur­row­ing deep into the nat­ur­al world to bring back its dirty, messy, mys­te­ri­ous secrets… Each of these artists is after full-on com­mu­nion with the nat­ur­al world, the kind that leaves you sur­round­ed and bowled over, for­get­ting the dif­fer­ence between being human, rock, plant or divine…”

Me and artist Peter Kinney - a painting by Peter on left, and one by Jeff Waring on right
Me and artist Peter Kin­ney — a paint­ing by Peter on left, and two by Jeff War­ing on right

This is part of the state­ment I wrote for the exhib­it From the Ground Up: LandWater&Sky, now up at Philadelphia’s Mag­ic Gar­dens through June 9. Thanks to Ellen Owens for invit­ing me to be part of this won­der­ful show, which has work by Peter Kin­ney, Jeff War­ing, and some rarely seen ear­ly land­scape paint­ings by Isa­iah Zagar, dat­ing to before his out­door mosa­ic work. Two years ago I includ­ed Peter Kin­ney in a small-group show called Ecsta­t­ic Land­scape in the Borowsky Gallery at the Ger­sh­man Y, where I’m the cura­tor. Peter, Isa­iah and Jeff’s work feels like they’re all part of the same school: wild, made-out­side vision­ary land­scape?

A wall of work showing it surrounded by Isaiah's mosaic ceiling and floor - works by Peter Kinney (two larger pieces) and Jeff Waring
A wall of work show­ing it sur­round­ed by Isaiah’s mosa­ic ceil­ing and floor — works by Peter Kin­ney (two larg­er pieces) and Jeff War­ing