Ever Gold [Projects] is pleased to present The River Laughs While The Sky Cries, the gallery’s second solo exhibition with Oakland-based artist Drew Bennett. The exhibition will be open** and on view to the public from September 19 – October 31, as well as accessible through a number of online platforms, accompanied by public programs, collaborations, and an artist book release.
Building upon it flows through and all around you, Bennett’s first solo exhibition in 2019, the artist continues his discovery, through painting, of the relationship between the human body and nature. He approaches this through a contemporary aesthetic that combines the traditions of romantic landscape painting with interpretations of photographic snapshots and memories.
There is an underlying tension to being in nature. In the same moment, one can be awestruck yet quite literally fall off the trail. Knowing this, Bennett aims to remind the viewer of the rewards for giving over to the world around us, even to the extent of getting lost, an experience and feeling he holds onto deeply out in nature and as part of his studio process. His painted scenes all contain autobiographical elements of personal adventures into the land yet leave a spaciousness for the viewer to imagine their own journey. Bennett’s backgrounds and foregrounds do more than just set the stage for humans in nature, they are dynamic layers rich with color that meld and merge, allowing his subjects to become intertwined, co-existent, and in some works obscured from the scene completely.
As stated in the commissioned essay for this exhibition by David Wilson, Bennett’s deep connection to the scenes and emotions in this imagery are in fact part of back-to-the-land experiences, many of which he has cultivated with David and other Bay Area artists. Bennett has affectionately referred to this group as the Naturalists. An idealistic celebration of nature as a subject matter is not new to Northern California artists, nor the history of American art since the Hudson River School. In a time when we are ever-reminded of the forces in the natural world that can drastically alter human life, from a cellular level to a few degree changes in our atmosphere, Bennett’s work aims to re-center nature’s sublime essence as an all-powerful and constant force of good in our collective existence. These paintings guide us back to a celebration of the human body in harmony with nature, restoring faith in the cycle of life.