Kent State University Downtown Gallery Presents “Visions of Paradise”
Kent State University Downtown Gallery will present “Visions of Paradise,” an exhibition by Rob Vander Zee, now through Feb. 9 in the Downtown Gallery.
“Visions of Paradise,” which began in 2009, is an ongoing series of paintings that focuses on an imagined world of vibrant colors and fantastic plants, animals and new mutant creatures. These paintings explore the complex questions surrounding our relationship to the natural world and the role that science has in shaping the living environment.
Both science and human psychology play a role in these paintings. The work asks a basic question about the impact of evolution and genetic engineering on the environment: “What will emerge from our ability to manipulate the genetic code of any species on Earth, including ourselves?”
Born in 1971 in Grand Rapids, Mich., Vander Zee grew up in rural Cedar Springs, surrounded by nature. He went on to major in both painting and drawing at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. Vander Zee received his MFA from Michigan State University in 1998. The landscape as a site of emotional drama became the subject of Vander Zee’s work in the mid-2000s.
In 2005, Vander Zee started the gallery that bears his name in Alexandria, Va., and in the following year founded a school at which he mentors 35 to 40 students each year. In 2005, the artist continued a series of trips that have become important influences on his work. Vander Zee has exhibited his paintings at many venues including Gallery A, Washington D.C., Trowbridge-Lewis Gallery, Middleburg, Va. and the Tallin Art Academy, Tallin, Estonia. His work has traveled in group exhibitions to Vilnius, Lithuania, Romania and to the Republic of Georgia.
The Downtown Gallery is located at 141 E. Main St. in downtown Kent. Hours are Wednesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 330-676-1549 or visit http://galleries.kent.edu.