“Furious Garden,” an exhibition of paintings and sculptures focused on the power and beauty of natural flora, opened on September 3 at the Claremont Museum of Art and will run until November 27.
The exhibition features new paintings by Karen Kitchel and Deena Capparelli and ceramic sculptures by Cj Jilek, in which artists reimagine and reconstruct familiar pastoral metaphors.
Deena Capparelli, professor of drawing and sculpture at Pasadena City College, grew up in Rancho Cucamonga. Her interests in native California plants and garden design merged with her work as a painter, sculptor, and interdisciplinary collaborator.
Her recent sabbatical research has taken her to England, Germany, and the Atlantic coast of the United States, studying the transatlantic relationship between historic gardens and eighteenth-century landscape paintings influenced by the picturesque. These activities and influences have fueled what she calls her pseudo-imaginary landscape paintings, according to a press release.
Cj Jilek, assistant professor of ceramics at Chaffey, Saddleback, and Mount San Antonio colleges, uses botanical forms, with their overtly displayed reproductive elements, as a metaphor for human sexuality. Its biomorphic forms are designed to lead the viewer to an unconscious association between nature and the human instinct of attraction, according to the press release.
Karen Kitchel lives and works in Ventura. His paintings in the “Furious Garden” exhibit draw inspiration from his own gardening practice, surviving the 2017 Thomas Fire and considering issues of environmental sustainability.
An essay by art historian Betty Ann Brown accompanies the exhibition.
The Claremont Art Museum is located in the Claremont Historical Depot at 200 W. First St. It is open from noon to 4 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, visit claremontmuseum.org.