Madeleine Dietz, Perla Krauze and Mario Reis:
7/7 - 8/25/2007
Earthworks is a form of art created in Nature that uses natural materials such as stones, leaves, or soil. This art came to prominence in the late 1960s and 1970s. Some of the artists working in this genre are Richard Long, Michael Heizer, and Robert Smithson.
In “The Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects”, published in Artforum in 1968, Robert Smithson writes, “One’s mind and the earth are in a constant state of erosion, mental rivers wear away abstract banks, brain waves undermined cliffs of thought, ideas decompose into stones of unknowing, and conceptual crystallizations break apart into deposits of gritty reasons.”
Madeleine Dietz, Perla Krauze, and Mario Reis, all born in the 1950s, grew up during the prominence of Earthwork or Land Art and are continuing to further the concepts the movement concerned itself with. For these three artists the main focus is not the concept of erosion, but rather the concept of preservation. They are freezing time and the erosion process through preserving natural materials that readily fluctuate.
Madeleine Dietz uses earth and steel as her primary materials. She mixes soil with water to create mud, which she spreads into a thin layer that, with the help of the sun, will dry and crack into dried earth lumps. She then uses these “stones” either by themselves or in combination with steel in her installations and objects. She uses earth, the material from which we come from and to which we will return, a material which we tame and cultivate and sometimes even abuse. This is what Dietz is preserving as “stones” which she stacks and encapsulates in raw steel.
Perla Krauze uses found natural objects - like stones, rocks, and sticks – and preserves them by casting them in resin or aluminum. These objects are then arranged within objects and installations through sorting, stacking or suspending. The combination of the objects and the cast material and the way they are presented create an almost mystical setting.
Mario Reis creates “river-paintings”, which are done by submerging a blank stretched canvas into the shallow water of a riverbed and waiting till the natural sediments of the river settle on the fabric of the canvas. The finished work, framed by the canvas stretcher residue, depicts both the natural pigment and movement, which are unique to each river. In this manner, Reis has documented since 1977 international rivers and creeks.