Unnatural Disasters

Petzel, New York

35 East 67th Street

May 5 - 10, 2022

Petzel is pleased to present a special exhibition of new works by Sean Landers at the gallery’s Upper East Side location at 35 East 67th Street. Opening on Thursday, May 5th, this week-long exhibition will run concurrently with TEFAF New York (Park and 67th) and debuts a new series of five landscape paintings titled “Unnatural Disasters”.

Drawing from motifs from earlier works like Alone (1996) where Landers painted an incongruous scene of a clown rowing in the middle of a stormy seascape, this new series continues to explore the idea of man’s struggles against nature as a metaphor for the artist’s own internal battles within the turbulent and, at times, equally absurd milieu of contemporary culture.

However, Landers’ new landscapes offer an additional layer of meaning in their unambiguous references to the effects of climate change, depicting imagined but doubtlessly real scenes that range from melting glaciers to raging wildfires. In describing these works as “unnatural disasters,” Landers points to the man-made origins of our current environmental crisis.

While troubling in content, the paintings offer an aestheticized view of catastrophe that recalls the logic of Romanticism and its conceptions of the sublime. In so doing, Landers complicates a purely eco-political interpretation of the paintings on view. Indeed, the works are as much about disaster as they are about society’s increasing fascination with and desensitization to images of calamity. Like Thomas Cole or Winslow Homer before him, Landers presents an idea of beauty and self-examination distilled from the fears and anxieties of the period.

Petzel Gallery is located on the parlor floor and third floors of 35 East 67th Street New York, NY 10065. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM–6:00 PM. For press inquires, please contact Ricky Lee at ricky@petzel.com, or call (212) 680-9467.