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Sacred Site at Olana
Saturday, October 1, 2022 - Monday, October 31, 2022Free
Sacred Site presents a rare opportunity to encounter the full scale and impact of Frederic Church’s monumental canvases in the landscape he designed at Olana. The installation comprises twelve replicated works created by Diana Wege, who engaged with Church’s Niagara Falls, from the American Side (1867) over a decade. Just as Church’s large-scale paintings called 19th-century audiences to wonder at nature’s awe-inspiring power, this project calls us to consider the connections between humanity, nature, public land, and personal inspiration. Church’s awe-inspiring subject matter, Niagara Falls, and the scale of his original artwork captures the power and fragility of the natural world. The eight canvases on the right side of the Mount Merino overlook are faithful to the colors of Church’s original, while the four on the left are intended as “variations on a theme” and emphasize abstract qualities of Church’s imagery. The twelve works flank Mt. Merino, a forested spot in Olana’s historic viewshed that was protected from development in 2008. Placing the works at this significant location in Church’s designed landscape calls attention to the vulnerability of our environments and the importance of land stewardship. For Wege, these twelve paintings ask viewers to contemplate the spiritual significance of land and landscape. Just as the Churches were deeply curious about world religions and collected artifacts of Islam, Jainism, and Buddhism, among others, Wege’s work emerged from her interactions with global faith traditions and their contact with the divine in nature. These objects collectively create a “sacred site” for contemplation of the natural world around us.