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Nelson Díaz - Best in Show, 2012 Lay of the Land, Infinity Art Gallery
Best in Show - Nelson Díaz, Fotosíntesis
Acrylic paint on body, digital photography
Lay of the Land:
The Terrain of the 21st Century

January 15, 2012 - March 1, 2012
Curated by Flavia S. Zúñiga-West

Deborah Bein, Bonnie Ferguson Butler, Rachel Caldwell, Nelson Díaz, Irina Dorofeeva, Nina Fosdick, Darren Hepburn, Scott Hovind,Virginia Lee, Megan Levacy, Susannah Martin, Joni McClain, Pedro Pacheco, Lynnda Pardoe, Einat Shteckler, Vicky Stromee, Alan Thexton, Mars Toyko, Manuela Wenger, and Caitlin Williams
T here is an inherent human need to depict the natural world around us. From Paleolithic cave paintings to Ansel Adams, we have attempted to capture the space around us to reflect our relationship with it and within us.

Now is a distinctive time in the history of art to depict the natural world with our understanding of the earth and our impact on land, water, and wildlife. Finding untouched forests, clean bodies of water, and abundant ecosystems is a rarity in the 21st century.  Our environment and the world are in constant flux with climate change, pollution, and natural disasters.

Throughout the 20th and 21st century, the calls to action for land and wildlife preservation and ultimately sustainability have altered our landscapes. Humanity has turned a desert to a metropolis, raised islands out of the sea, and even changed the hue of the sky at dusk.

The artist’s role in documenting our environment today is crucial in evaluating and reflecting on the lay of the land locally and globally.
Lay of the Land focuses on the vital role land and terrain play in the biodiversity of an ecosystem. It approaches the landscape of the natural world as a platform to document the current environmental crises facing us, nationally and internationally.
Einat Shteckler, 2nd Place, Lay of the Land - Infinity Art Gallery
2nd Place - Einat Shteckler, Disaster 2, Photography
The 20 artists in this exhibition have provided us a unique opportunity to literally see our natural and urban world through an international lens. From Costa Rica, Germany, The United States, Israel, Canada, and Australia, we view the spectrum of our world, from the beauty we deeply value to the devastation we are responsible for causing.  They challenge, mourn, and reveal humanity’s role in the reshaping of the natural world all while celebrating and reveling in the beauty of what remains.  Their pieces are a needed reminder of what we may yet lose and what we can save.

The three prize winners of the this exhibition, through various mediums-- performance, installation, photography and painting--chronicle the crises and devolution of the planet.
Lay of the Land is proud to celebrate the work of Best in Show winner: Nelson Díaz; 2nd place winner: Einat Shteckler; and 3rd Place winner: Mars Toyko.
Mars Tokyo , 3rd Place - Lay of the Land, Infinity Art Gallery
3rd Place - Mars Tokyo, Sendai, Japan
Gouache, India Ink
Award Winners
Best in Show

Nelson Díaz
Acrylic paint on body, digital photography

The work of
Nelson Díaz is provocative. His subjects radiate a primordial reverence to the natural landscapes of Costa Rica. Luring his viewer into saturated monochromatic compositions, Diaz tugs on our connection and evolutionary beginnings in nature. Fotosíntesis plays on our environmental knowledge and instinctual bond with the natural world. His subject, naked and green, is subsumed into the natural world without barriers; nature and humanity are one. Costa Rica's lush forests are often paraded in order to draw tourists, but Diaz's work does not shy from the subtext of the illegal deforestation so prevalent in his home country.
2nd Place

Einat Shteckler
Disaster 2

Capturing his environmental installations with photography, Shteckler’s work reminds us of our individual responsibilities to pick up a piece of trash and the impact of our rampant consumption. Creating ecological statements regarding the damage and disposal of plastic waste, Shteckler activates the natural environment by inserting plastic bottles into unpolluted areas, often using his city of Eilat in Israel as a location. Disaster 2 is a startling and powerful message for the times. Through his subject matter and composition, Shteckler demands his viewer to see humanity’s intrusion into the natural world. 
3rd Place

Mars Tokyo
Sendai, Japan
Gouache, India Ink

Mars Tokyo's work is ornate and beautiful with archival value. Her bold color and intricately designed compositions document fragile coastal areas around the world. Charting global warming with gouache and india ink, her work is based in observing and creating works about our ever changing lay of the land.  By using a warm palette, she deftly creates a sense of urgency to capture the destruction of coast lines as a result of global warming.  Her work is striking, meticulously constructed, and timely.
Additionally, Infinity Art Gallery honors two artists with the awards and reflections from our Founder, Charly Swing, and our Director, Julie Weismann. Lay of the Land is pleased to announce the Founder’s Choice award winner: Deborah Bein; and Director’s Choice award winner: Virgina Lee.

Flavia S. Zúñiga-West
Los Angeles , 2012

“The quilt historically represents the 'fabric' of our communities.  Women gathered together to sew, created their own pieces and worked together to fabricate the finished products - talking, laughing, singing, story telling and bonding their communities together as they worked their active hands and bound the pieces into quilts that were given to relatives, babies, elders, soldiers, the cold, the weary.....

Deborah Bein's Oh Say Can You Cell poetically uses the quilt to tell a modern story about the fabric of our communities and how we are grasping for connectivity in a time when we do not sit together and talk while our hands are busy working toward a unified goal.  Rather, there is loss, disconnection, fragmentation, and a landscape littered with the evidence of our desires.”

~ Charly Swing
Founder, Infinity Art Gallery
Virginia Lee, Director
Director’s Choice Award
Virginia Lee, SunDial, Acrylic on Canvas
“Virginia Lee is a master of layering stories. Each and every time I view this piece, I see another piece of the puzzle—another story of our past—another dream for our future. As the SunDial shows the ticks of time, so this piece expresses the moments in our lives—an entire movie in one frame.”

~ Julie Weismann
Director, Infinity Art Gallery
Deborah Bein, Founder
Founder’s Choice Award ~ Deborah Bein
Oh Say Can You Cell, Mixed Media on Fiber
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