Alexander Berggruen is pleased to open Emma Webster: Green Iscariot. This exhibition presents vibrant landscapes that combine painting’s rich history of illusion with frontier optics of virtual reality. In her humanless scenes, Webster signals that landscape – and the natural environment as a whole – merits respect. In these new species of space, nature has her own agency and power well beyond that granted by humankind.
Webster’s Iscariot – the surname of Judas the Betrayer – points the finger at humans, for it is we who have betrayed Nature. Or perhaps the traitor is the color green itself. Slippery and fresh, green is the color of sustainable politics, youth and naïveté as well as of sickness, envy and jealousy. It may also represent the camouflage of the Chroma Key (or green screen) – a clear deception, a fake promise of what could be, leaving the viewer to ask: is green symbolic of a solution or a delusion?
In Green Iscariot, Webster blurs the line between set and actor, leaving one to ponder whether it is the character or the object that is being staged. In fact, what the stage is altogether? Is the tree the central character or is the entire environment one player?