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Landscape Art that Depicts More Than Nature

Lisa Sanditz, whose palette is generally vibrant if not supersaturated, delivers a gem with “Cleared Lot” (2010), a 16 x 20 inch painting depicting a muddy-gray heap of earth and garbage out of which grows a spunky tree at an impossibly rakish angle. The central trash heap dominates: it is thick, smeary, and ought to repulse, but is filled with flecks of pink, blue, red, and orange that give it surprising life. The upper half of the canvas is sky, summarily noted with horizontal gray strokes tinged with luminous blue and lavender. Left and right of the mound are bright yellow-greens and reds connoting flowers, or maybe plants. Who knows what they are, but they infuse this painting with joy. Perhaps this is Sanditz’s comment on the Anthropocene, in which we clear the land for yet another structure. In this instance, however, a little tree heroically asserts itself where a developer has walked away after the financing dried up.


Written by Daniel Gerwin