Burnett Gallery Virtual Exhibit

April 1 – 30, 2023

Work by Jeff Lowenstein and Jay Alexander

Jeff Lowenstein - Artist Photo

Jeff Lowenstein

Jeff Lowenstein grew up in the Berkshires and spent much of his childhood hiking through beautiful forests and mountains. This sparked a lifelong love for nature, and an early interest in bonsai trees. He was always fascinated with the idea of distilling the grace and beauty he found in forests into something so small. Later, as a teenager, he started to learn a bit of wirework and became obsessed with origami, folding increasingly complex models. Eventually he found a way to combine all these passions, creating bonsai sculptures using wire and origami. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, he rediscovered his passion for origami and for bonsai trees, and started creating more bonsai. The creative process became a real source of hope and beauty for him during a pretty bleak time, and he decided to take the COVID pause as a gift and dive deep into his art!

Two years later, folding and shaping these bonsai sculptures has become a deep reflective practice, as well as a way to capture the beauty and peace of nature. Jeff is an avid rock climber and hiker and draws inspiration from trees that he encounters on his travels. This also inspired the name for his studio, Crag & Cascade Bonsai. He hopes that his bonsai can help others find a love and appreciation for the woods, especially those without ready access to nature in their own communities.

To purchase a bonsai, get more information, or commission a custom piece, you can contact Jeff at cragandcascadebonsai@gmail.com.

Crag & Cascade Bonsai

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Jay Alexander - Artist Photo

Jay Alexander

My paintings are a contemporary interpretation of several dominant themes in Classical Chinese painting: plum, orchid, birds and landscapes. I bring my experience of graphic art, Far Eastern painting , calligraphy and language to express and reinterpret these themes — the natural world filtered through a vast body of metaphysical underpinnings where art is a spontaneous expression, immediate and irrevocable as life itself. This approach to painting is fostered and engendered by the media — a very porous rice paper combined with the drips, washes, ink blots and calligraphic strokes of ink and water color. The washes of transparent color evince light and atmosphere, the bleeding of the rice paper adds expression and accidental effect. Form and dissolution — nothing is fixed or stable in this world of water, ink and rice paper. Layers dissolve into one another and subject matter are enveloped in a purposely vague environment as the dialectic moves from figuration to abstraction. You can contact me at this email: jralx@umass.edu

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