Collaboration in Celebration of Natural Lands

Genesee Land Trust and Rochester Contemporary Art Center collaborate in celebration of natural lands.

Landscapes and The Unbuilt features artworks by 11 local and regional artists, all inspired by conserved properties in the Rochester area.

Artists have been inspired by the changing nature around them for centuries, arguably since the earliest artworks known to humankind. Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) and Genesee Land Trust honor and celebrate this deep connection with Landscapes and The Unbuilt, a new exhibition that reflects artist interactions with land and natural places. This two-part exhibition opens February 1 at 6:00pm and features a diverse group of artists who span multiple generations and artistic mediums brought together by a common interest in the landscape and the environment. The exhibition continues through March 16, 2019.

Nine Rochester-based artists each chose one Genesee Land Trust protected property to engage with the land, its history, and the living creatures at each site. The resulting works present each artist's response and highlight the many ways in which artists are inspired by the landscape, the environment, and the zones between unbuilt and built landscapes. Each work will be exhibited alongside a map of the preserved site and additional information about each location. Contrasting the Unbuilt projects, two sculptural installations by regional artists showcase ecology and human impact on the natural environment to create a dynamic, thought-provoking exhibition.

Executive Director of RoCo, Bleu Cease, says “We want our collaboration with Genesee Land Trust to lead to creative ideas and meaningful discussions about our interactions with the environment...not just as artists, but as agents in the ever-changing landscape in which we live. Landscapes and The Unbuilt is a celebration of protected natural lands, those who work to preserve them, and their timeless role in the creative process.”

The public is invited to attend the artist talk held on February 2 at 1:00pm. Each artist will discuss their chosen unbuilt location and how they approached creating new artwork for this exhibition.

This new collaboration brings attention to the protection of natural lands and waterways—not only for creative inspiration but also for environmental conservation and our overall quality of life. Genesee Land Trust “preserves and protects natural lands and waterways that enhance the quality of life in the greater Rochester region—providing wildlife habitat, locally grown food, and connections to nature.” At a time when climate change and environmental degradation are a concern, art can highlight the varied ways we are inspired by and engage with natural lands and their built alternatives on a daily basis.

“Land forms the foundation of our lives – from habitats for wildlife, trails for recreation, nature that improves our health and wellbeing and inspiration for creative spirits as celebrated with our partnership with RoCo. Genesee Land Trust has protected natural and working lands for all of these reasons and welcomes all to experience them for inspiration, health and enjoyment.” –Gay Mills, Executive Director of Genesee Land Trust.

To inspire everyone to get outside this winter and celebrate the natural landscape, RoCo and Genesee Land Trust are promoting an instagram exhibition and competition. The community is encouraged to share an image of their favorite unbuilt landscapes on social media using #unbuiltrochester. One photographer will be awarded a naturalist hosted tour for four of a special *private* protected property.

Landscapes and The Unbuilt grew out of an exhibition concept proposed by Rochester-based landscape artist and preservationist, Connie Ehindero. A former Genesee Land Trust board member and an active member of Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Connie added, “We need artists’ visions and voices. We need natural spaces, unbuilt places where the soul and creative spirit can expand and soar. It’s an ancient connection, one not always present in our modern world.”

Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) is a venue for the exchange of ideas and a not-for profit 501(c)(3) that was founded in 1977. As a center for thoughtful contemporary art, RoCo provides unique encounters for audiences and extraordinary opportunities for artists.