A public garden & cultural center

Naomi Reis

Prickly, Tender and Steamy: Artists in the Hothouse 
Glyndor Gallery | April 8–May 18, 2014 

 Naomi Reis’s work investigates the artificial space created by the intersection of architecture and natural environments. The mixed-media collages that Reis generated during her time in the Winter Workspace are based on tightly cropped views inside the Tropical House. Rather than representing specific plants, the artist was more interested in capturing the otherworldly space and atmosphere of the lush greenhouse. “If you squint, you could imagine being transported to a rain forest.” Through this work, she investigates the fabricated space of the greenhouse, in which exotic plants are carefully selected, placed and cared for in an environment that simulates their natural habitat, creating an imagined tropical experience for the visitor.

I've always loved self-contained worlds like movie theaters, airports and libraries, but this was the first time I've had the opportunity to work on the grounds of a public garden. Wave Hill is a psychically inspiring site because it exists in a space just outside of the vertically oriented grid of New York City, which has continued to grow just outside of its gates for over a century. It is a really calming place to be. Working in that quiet bubble, and visiting the Conservatory in the dead of winter—going from the cold New York air to the damp earthy smell of a tropical rain forest in an instant—was magical and transporting every time.

Growing up transnational in binary-thinking Japan and America, I have felt native and foreign to both. My work thus exists to pry open a third space between dichotomies: natural/artificial; abstract/realistic; interior/exterior; organic/plastic; architectural/botanical; digital/analog; East/West. Subverting traditional landscape painting, my recent work presents cropped views of conservatory biomes, where “nature” is an idealized version of the real thing. My work draws attention to the layered nature of truth by playing with the illusionistic quality of image-making itself.

—Naomi Reis

Reis has had solo exhibitions at TSA, Brooklyn, NY; the Horticultural Society of New York, New York, NY; and Swig Arts Center, Hightstown, NJ. Her work has been featured in group shows at Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, NY; Kunsthalle Galapagos, Brooklyn, NY; Virginia Center for Architecture, Richmond, VA; and the Travel + Leisure Global Bazaar at Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY. Reis received a BA from Hamilton College and an MFA from the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Borrowed Landscape (Tropics of Africa, Asia and the Amazon via the Bronx II), 2014, acrylic on rice paper and mylar, 50” x 38.” Courtesy of the artist.

Winter Workspace 2013
Glyndor Gallery | January 2 – March 24, 2013

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The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.