Copley Society of Art
158 Newbury Street
August 2 through 25
Jet-setting artist Lalie Schewadron unveils a timely and compelling study of contemporary scientific discussion this summer at the Copley Society of Art. Pausing in Boston between ventures in Switzerland and England, Schewadron’s fusion of technology and nature explores the “artificial realities” created by genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Considering the current political climate and ongoing ethics debate, “Synthesis” couldn’t be more relevant. But besides providing a platform for academic conversation, Schewadron crafts a visually captivating and energetic body of artwork.
The creative process starts with a photograph of a subject from the natural world that exhibits properties of growth (saplings/trees) or transformation (water/ice). Schewadron divides the image into smaller units and uses digital tools to manipulate each piece. Most often the pieces are put back together in a rearranged fashion – effectively rendering a manipulated reality. The derived images serve as the basis for digital prints, painting, wall drawings and animations. Where some end results are abstracted almost completely from their former shapes, Schewadron’s major aesthetic successes come from those illustrations where the original image exerts a relatively stronger nuance over the finished product. The black and white prints are especially transfixing; the tangled tree branches emanate ghostly tranquility when stripped of time and season. At first I imagine these woods to be snowy, dark, and deep – but only until I spot signs of summery vegetation. Or is it foliage? In Schewadron’s nature-based menagerie, it’s exactly that evolution that counts.