Alyson Shotz reproduces nature as most people experience it: interfaced with technology and filtered through civilization. Her works continue a long artistic tradition of examining culture through current perceptions of nature, from the majestic and unspoiled vistas of the Hudson River School painters to the glossy Dutch still lifes that represent the cycles of life through images of fruits and flowers in various states of decay. Offering a clever commentary on the modern mediated experience of nature, Shotz’s imaginary structures — termed “dream plants of the imagination” by the artist herself — replicate natural things with obviously artificial materials. In her installations, bamboo reeds are made of wrapped cotton swabs, pools and droplets of water are suggested by mirrors, insects and flowers merge in suspended swarms of glossy petal and wing shapes, and house plants are equipped with their own rubber feeding tubes and wheels for easy transport.
A Slight Magnification of Altered Things marked the first time that the full range of media that Shotz employs, including sculptural installation, digital photography collage, animated video, and large-scale resin painting, was brought together in one exhibition. The graceful and meticulously crafted works on view fostered lively discussion about important issues like genetic engineering, biodiversity, pollution, and the human desire to harness and control nature.
A 64-page full-color catalogue is available, including an interview with Alyson Shotz by Ian Berry.