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  • Design Credit: Kacy Ellis, Photo Credit: Wynn Myers. Dimensions: H 14 in. x W 17 in.
  • Design Credit: Jeremiah Brent Design, Photo Credit: Nicole Franzen. Dimensions: H 14 in. x W 17 in.
  • Design Credit: Sarah Shetter, Photo Credit: Boris Breuer. Dimensions: H 14 in. x W 17 in.
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Eric LoPresti
Cacti as Sea Anemones

2018

About

Eric LoPresti (b. 1971) makes art that examines the imposition of technology upon the environment and the aftermath of the Cold War. His dramatic landscapes juxtapose abstract elements with representations of the vast deserts of the American West, exploring relationships between science, identity, history, and conflict. Following in the painterly tradition of the apocalyptic sublime, LoPresti’s artistic practice explores how trauma and beauty shape our lives. LoPresti constructs a multifaceted depiction of the American West that scrutinizes our physical environment within the contexts of both the expansive narrative of the atomic age and the artist’s own personal history. While the globally-transformative story of the development and testing of nuclear weapons suffuses many of his works, LoPresti’s visual field shifts constantly and seamlessly from the micro- to the macroscopic. As with the infinitely elusive location of a particle in quantum mechanics, LoPresti presents a vision of the American West whose physical characteristics and historical associations defy any attempt to be perceived and comprehended from a fixed viewpoint. LoPresti earned a BA in Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Past awards include the Faber Birren Foundation Award, the Walentas/Two Trees Studio Grant and the Miami Young Painters Award. Recent solo exhibitions include Blooms at Elizabeth Houston Gallery (New York); Blueprint Paintings at the University of Rochester; and No Blue Skies at Kunsthalle Galapagos (New York). His solo exhibition Test Site was exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Atomic Test Museum (Las Vegas). Current group shows include Plural at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Site at Youngstown State University. In the fall of 2018, LoPresti will open Superbloom, a large solo exhibition at New Mexico State University. LoPresti’s artwork has been cited in numerous publications, including Artforum, The New York Times and Art in America. "Cacti as Sea Anemones" is a work on paper composed with acrylic, watercolor, ink, colored pencil, graphite, and crayon. "Cacti as Sea Anemones" presents an aerial view of green and purple cacti sprouting from the parched ground of a nuclear test site, their spiky tendrils reaching out to the sky. The scene could just as easily be a depiction of sea anemones on the ocean floor. Both the cacti in the desert nuclear test site and the anemones at the bottom of the ocean have adapted to survive in extreme environmental circumstances. Interestingly, the former has naturally adapted to high exposure to sunlight, and the latter has adapted to none. Despite the damage humans have done to the environment with nuclear radiation, pollution, and global warming, these resilient plants continue to adapt for survival.

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