Harkawik is delighted to announce Double Landscapes, the gallery's seventh collaboration with Los Angeles-based painter John Seal, and his first since joining our roster of represented artists this Fall, on view at NADA Miami 2022.
Foregrounding his impressive ability to encapsulate the artist’s relationship to the natural world, here Seal abandons not only the elaborate textuality of past projects, but also the notion of gesture entirely. The result is six surprisingly concise, unabashedly beautiful “superportraits” that defy description and operate instead like a finely-tuned machine, humming gently beneath a dazzling cover. Conceived during a residency in the French countryside, Seal begins by folding landscapes over on themselves, joining them at the picture’s foreground, where they eye typically “relaxes,” details become indistinct, and we are grounded by the certainty of our own perspective. Ungrounded, this inverted buttressing creates a shocking vertigo, and further inspection reveals a gentle modulation of the brush in tune with the texture and volume of natural phenomena. Double Landscapes offers an “out” to the dichotomies of enchantment and rationalism recapitulated throughout the history of western art, and have more in common with science-fiction than, say, Baudelaire, whose “Nature is a temple where living pillars/Let escape sometimes confused words.” Seal’s nature is not one of cleaved icecaps, trees rent from the earth, or crimson skylines, lit with fires raging beyond humankind’s ability to contain them. His folded landscapes offer moments of profound quietude, like a dewy leaf resting in one’s palm, that upon close inspection reveals a mandelbrot-like universe of regressive unfolding, impossible to perceive, unimaginably detailed, offering in lieu of something knowable only the certainty that the truth about nature lies somewhere between the perception of sentient creatures and objective fact.