By Merle Exit
Two Queens artists have their work on display at the Rainforest Art Foundation’s “Nature in Art By Young Artists” exhibit.
The exhibit, run by artist Marlene Yu, opened May 5 and will run through June 6 at 35-58 37th St. in Long Island City.
Midori Tanabe lives in Forest Hills and has a background in architecture. Her artwork is on display at the exhibit, including a drawing of the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, which shows off the area’s submerged trees.
“Some of my work includes drawings in pastels usually about things I find in New York City. Most of my work focuses on architecture and nature,” Tanabe said. “I like drawing on the site because it makes me pay more attention to the details. Being that this is the Rainforest Art Foundation, it is all about appreciating nature through art, so my art is based on the flowers and foliage of the city. Although I prefer drawing indoors as my comfort zone, the outdoor environment gives me a further dimension and can be less suffocating.”
Jenny Liu, of Long Island City, has two copper plate etchings on display at the exhibit, “I Found the Universe in My Backyard” and “Infinity.”
“All of my work tends to come back to nature in some way,” Liu said. “My artwork served as a culmination of my interdisciplinary studies and interests in undergraduate at University of Pittsburgh.”
Liu majored in philosophy and minored in studio arts, as well as chemistry. She is inspired by nature and the world around her.
“I try to better understand the significance of living organisms and what it means to be living,” Liu said.
With “I Found the Universe in My Backyard,” Liu said she tried to show off “the awe and wonder that is universally felt when we immerse ourselves in nature.” “Infinity” is “a study of the states of infinity that can be found in nature,” Liu said.
“After seeing Marlene’s art, I was inspired and felt further connected to these questions and curiosities regarding nature that we both share,” she added. “I am excited to see more of her work and get to know her more because it seems like our artwork comes from similar ways of thinking about nature.”
There are five other artists in addition to Tanabe and Liu who have their work displayed at the exhibit.
Catherine Chang flew in from Atlanta to provide a solo show within the exhibit. The fabric pieces included in her work are naturally hand-dyed with food scraps in order to honor “nature.” The pinks are made from avocados and the yellows from lemon peels. Chang said she is inspired by the spiritual feeling of being out in a naturalistic environment.
Receptive to both her own inner nature and nature’s wisdom, Chang said that she seeks “to explore universal metaphysics and internal feeling in my artwork through line, space, and color” and uses the medium to create a visual language of what she not able to put into words. “I wish that those who connect with my art will find a quieting of the mind and an opening of heart and soul,” Chang said.
Scarlett Chang, Catherine’s sister, also contributed to the exhibit with one drawing of pen on paper. She said her focus is simple and intricate line drawings of flower forms using both pen and watercolor. “The work I create is a product of self expression and creativity used as an outlet for the mundane,” Scarlett said. “Flowers are the main focus of my work and are detailed in the most simplistic nature of pen on paper in order to highlight the work with less emphasis on the medium.”
Ave Salzman, Jinge Xu and Alexander Yu also showed off their work at the exhibit, though they were not present at the opening reception.
Salzman considers herself to be a practicing graphic novelist, painter, and illustrator. She said that she is “deeply passionate about ecology, evolutionary biology and the conservation of species in the earth’s remaining niches of great beauty.” Her exhibit of her “Small Five” series came from volunteering in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, which is in Africa.
“I aim to capture that appreciation of nature coupled with the effortless inventiveness of a child, two qualities that are fundamental to human development and happiness,” Salzman said.
Alexander Yu is the youngest of the artists whose work is featured in the exhibit. “During my art elective at school we were instructed to paint a still-life painting using acrylic paints,” he said. “My choices were limitless but I settled on one of my favorite pictures of my dog, the scene setting a sense of serenity as Ella is deep in sleep on soft covers. She embodies still life and peace in oneself.”
Jinge Xu, from the northern Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, said she is inspired by the colors found in nature, though the art she has on display shows black and white line drawings of whimsical animals.
Those interested in attending the exhibit can stop by the Rainforest Art Foundation Tuesdays through Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call the foundation at (917) 682-3630.