Alan Sonfist

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In a recent installation Alan Sonfist gathered some 20 pieces, all employing found organic objects or natural processes in their conception. This collection, or Autobiography, as the artist calls it, shows Sonfist working in and around the two worlds of nature and art. This is a consistent aspect of Sonfist’s work; inconsequential yet familiar bits of nature intentionally presented in an artful context.

Some of the works in the Boston show literally do just that—his Gene Enclosures documents a sector of a forest for posterity with a grid pattern of photographs as well as a display, like so many botany lab samples, of bottled twigs, leaves and shards of bark. All the works, from Sonfist’s well-known lucite columns containing crystal formations to the highly romanticized prints, Dreams with Asher B. Durand, inspired by the paintings of that 19th-century celebrator of the American landscape,

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