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  • Linda Lauro-Lazin

Refugia at The Royal Society of American Art in Williamsburg

The Royal Society Of American Art is pleased to present, Refugia, an exhibition of works by artists Richard Barlow, Gregory Euclide, Basia Goszczynska, Jude Griebel, Valery Hegarty, Sophia Heymans, Linda Lauro-Lazin, and Cara Sullivan. Refugia is curated by Amelia Biewald, and will both a physical exhibition at The Royal,  AND a virtual exhibition at

We welcome visitors to attend the opening reception of Refugia in person Friday, November 13th, 7 – 9pm. Attendees are invited to view the exhibition in groups no larger than 10 people. All current health guidelines must be followed, and masks must be worn.

Refugia: areas where special environmental circumstances have enabled a species or a community of species to survive after extinction in surrounding areas.

Our planet and surroundings have already been drastically altered by human intervention. What truly is untouched? Countless acts by the human species have effected and altered our environment, and our notion of the natural world reflects that. We have left very few areas undiscovered.

The ecological challenges we face are truly frightening. Nature was often seen purely as a commodity; something to dominate and to use for profit. We are interconnected with the natural world, and the forests, fields, mountains, and rivers are a community we all belong to and not a commodity we can exploit without consequence. 

Thankfully this narrow view is changing and more and more humans are modeling their lives after ecological practices. The growing momentum for preservation is hope giving. These new perspectives on how we treat the Earth and Ourselves led me to take a closer look at how some contemporary artists are working with the concept of landscape.

“Landscape” is a term borrowed from art history — a painted picture of a view — a portion of the land that the eye can comprehend at a glance. How and where these artists choose to frame their view is an integral aspect of the works included in this exhibition. What is a landscape’s potential? These landscapes are anything but generic. We enter worlds of wonder, worlds where we can see the artists creatively building and making contemporaneous decisions as to how their “view” is constructed.

Their conversations with landscape intersect with culture, geographical differences, personal identities, politics, and histories. There also seems to be an emotional and spiritual relationship with the natural world. These aren’t your typical landscapes. Birds-eye views, erasing and reconstructing, technological reinforcements, digital production, and generally unique material use all contribute to complex worlds ready for interpretation.

Nature surrounds us, yet we can take it, and the mystery it harbors, for granted. These works give the viewer an intimate view of the artists’ personal relationship with Nature, and in doing so, help us recognize our natural world as a being — to restore, repair and respect. They beckon the viewers to question their way of “seeing” the natural world, and recognize the fundamental value of the environment.


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