APRIL 2022 / SOLO PROJECT FOR EXPO CHICAGO / ANDREW RAFACZ Andrew Rafacz presents an immersive series of landscape paintings from Chicago-based painter Soumya Netrabile, rooted in her ongoing relationship with the Des Plaines River Trail and its floodplain forest ecosystem. Netrabile regularly walks this local
trail running along the Des Plaines River, which begins in Wisconsin and continues down into northern Illinois.
She has easy access to it, allowing her to experience the environment throughout the seasons and in many different weather and light conditions.
The paintings in her solo presentation began as an exercise in approximating a real sense of the immersion she
feels while on the trail, which ultimately leads to the same experience for the viewer. Although each individual painting is articulated in uniquely defining ways through shifts in color and composition, they are also directly connected in an effort to establish a panoramic view of the preserve. Netrabile relays the mood and music of the seasonal light shifts that make up the fall and winter here in this Midwestern clime. Netrabile explains, ‘there’s a different energy in the woods during the winter solstice, where light meets with sleeping or dying nature to create a palpable drama and cacophony amongst the landscape.’
Installed by itself on the exterior wall of the booth, Search Party captures the same wintry mood as the interior paintings, while placing more immediate emphasis on narrative. It further contemplates the architecture and
divisions of space in the forest—and the sense of displacement and shifts that one feels when lost among
a thick patchwork of trees. (text by Andrew Rafacz)