Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath–Force of Nature Opens June 7

Wave Hill joins with its partners in the Fairfield Westchester Museum Alliance in presenting Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath–Force of Nature, one in a groundbreaking series of seven exhibitions taking place this summer. Each of seven cultural institutions explores one of the seven deadly sins, a favorite subject of painters and poets over the centuries.

A sanctuary and garden located in the Bronx overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades, Wave Hill chose wrath as a way to focus on nature at its most fierce. This dense exhibition pictures a collective anxiety about the frequency and intensity of natural disasters—tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, droughts and forest fires—and climate change. It features 26 paintings and sculptures that showcase the ways in which artists respond to these catastrophes.  The exhibition will be complemented by programs across the institution, especially on Sinful Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, August 8 and 9.

Underpinning the show is Wave Hill’s interest in presenting work that contributes to the way we think about these disasters, and the conceptual and visual tools we need in order to make sense of, and, ultimately, cope with, an increasingly precarious world.  Building on a rich legacy of allegorical paintings depicting wrath over the centuries—a tradition that continues today—paintings take pride of place, rounded out with one sculpture and one installation. The works in the show, tightly hung to envelop the visitor, will fill Glyndor Gallery, a former Georgian Revival home situated on the southern slope of Wave Hill’s property.  The intensely beautiful, ordered character of the garden landscape offers a striking contrast to the subject of the work in the exhibition.

The 12 artists shown have a history of engagement with the subject of natural disaster. Alexis Rockman’s monumental studies of the sky in vibrant motion neatly counterpoint the near-abstract small paintings of Brian Novatny, which suggest shipwrecks and collapsing bridges. Using collage as a way to patch together imagery, both Brian Adam Douglas and Tameka Norris focus on the human toll of disasters. Amer Kobaslija and Diane Burko have rigorously pursued the observation of landscape in distress, through plein-air studies and aerial perspective painting respectively. Anne Peabody contributes a baroque installation of scorched copper leaves, evoking a wildfire, while David Opdyke’s broken telephone pole irrupts directly onto Wave Hill’s pristine grounds. Angela Dufresne’s virtuosic brushwork and Julie Heffernan’s haunting imagery suggest people in retreat or standing courageously against a risk-filled world. And in the work of Kent Monkman and Jon Rappleye, the human figure is taken violently apart and reconstituted, using art-historical, botanical and cultural references.

Wrath–Force of Nature is curated by Director of Arts and Senior Curator Jennifer McGregor, Curator of Visual Arts Gabriel de Guzman and Curatorial Fellow David Xu Borgonjon.

Wave Hill’s collaborators in this summer’s series of exhibitions are The Aldrich Museum (Sloth),  Bruce Museum (Pride), Hudson River Museum (Envy), Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (Lust), Katonah Museum (Gluttony) and the Neuberger Museum (Greed).

Support for the Visual Arts Program is provided by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, The New York Community Trust, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts. Support for Public Programs is provided by The William Froelich Foundation. . Support for garden programs is provided by the Hagedorn Fund. The Institution’s operations are made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

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Wave Hill is a 28-acre public garden and cultural center in the Bronx overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. Its mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscapes, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

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