Landscapes impacted by mankind on view in Westport exhibition

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For centuries, the pristine wonders of the natural world defined landscape art, whether in painting or photography. However, today, as mankind continues to make its mark on the world, the opportunities to capture unspoiled vistas are few and far between.

So, many painters and photographers — including those featured in the Westport Art Center’s upcoming exhibition, “Landscape: Scene / Re-seen” — render landscapes that have been impacted by humanity’s footprint.

Opening with a reception on Friday, June 15, 6-8 p.m., the exhibition features 20 major contemporary photographers from the Andrew and Christine Hall Collection in Southport, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Peter Bialobrzeski (above), Edward Burtynsky, Elger Esser (second from bottom), Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer (first from bottom), Catherine Opie, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth.

While many of the pieces raise questions about “the sustainability of our current arc,” they do not “comprise a depressing catalogue of ecological and environmental despoliation,” Andrew Hall explained in a statement.

He added: “Beauty resides in unlikely places and improbable forms. Who for example cannot wonder at the magnificence of the nightscape of the modern city while perhaps suppressing a frisson of discomfort at its implications? Man’s impact on his surroundings is today so vast that it would be absurd to ignore it. Even the utilitarian structures that we have created in order to make possible our modern world possess their own grandeur and sculptural qualities that merits documentation.”

The exhibition is on view through Sept. 2. Viewing hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. For more information, call 203-222-7999 or visit the WAC online.

Scott Gargan

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