Man Vs. Nature
by Joshua Ascherman
Lisa Reindorf is no stranger to political art; she’s received acclaim for a series of gesturally painted panels depicting the expansion of Syrian refugee camps as seen from the air. This October, in a show at Galatea Fine Art in Boston’s SoWa District called “Building Into Water,” the artist tackles another vital political issue: the environment.
The great tension in Reindorf’s paintings is between human and nature; it’s a dichotomy that isn’t novel but into which she breathes new life. For her, the natural systems that have been disturbed by the expansion of man-made infrastructure are not passive — rather, they apply their own counter-pressure to human society in response to disturbances. Reindorf’s work aims to represent this tug-of-war.
This is indeed true in the case of the paintings that will show in “Building into Water.” They are narrative interpretations of the coastal ecosystems of Florida devastated in recent history by the redirection of natural waterways and by runoff of fertilizers and other chemicals.
The pollution of Florida’s natural aquifers has led to massive algae blooms that can cause water system toxicity. These blooms are represented in the paintings by imposing swaths of kelp green; these and other organic forms (such as concentric semi-circles resembling waves) threaten the stability of the carefully laid-out and repetitive geometries of human settlements.