New York

Jason Middlebrook

Sara Meltzer Gallery

Known for his half-solemn, half-whimsical approach to the human-wrought decline of the natural world, Jason Middlebrook is less an environmentalist than a critic of hubris. His site-specific installation at New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art in 2001–2003, which consisted of miniaturized layers of rock, soil, and plants, and his recent show at Margo Leavin Gallery in Los Angeles, which featured paintings of a postapocalyptic animal uprising, attested to the artist’s misgivings about the advances of human society at the expense of nature. In his latest exhibition, “The Provider,” Middlebrook looked to redeem and reclaim the natural world by examining the wrongheaded ways in which human beings relate to it.

Birds were Middlebrook’s case study here; the title of the show refers to the creatures’ assiduous care of their young. In the paintings of the “Provider” series, 2004–2005, brightly

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