Where nature goes pop

Five thousand pounds of sand. One hundred shiny, pillowy sandbags. Abstract landscape collages. That’s the gist of “The Silver Scenery,” a new exhibition by Minneapolis-born John Knuth. The Los Angeles artist curiously ties pop culture with reflections on the natural landscape. The silver sandbags, for instance, are piled in various shapes about the gallery — they look like barriers to floodwaters, but they’re also floofy objects reminiscent of Warhol’s silver cloud pillows. Covering the gallery walls are two-dimensional distorted landscape paintings, made of mylar, strips of mirror and black plastic sheets. Knuth describes these as visual reflections on the constantly shifting landscapes he experiences during regular drives on California’s mountainous I-210. Knuth is best known for his crazy “fly paintings,” featuring Rothko-like color gradients made with the help of thousands of houseflies. But this exhibition is entirely bug-free. Opening reception 5:30-8:30 p.m. Fri. (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Ends April 19. NewStudio Gallery, 2303 Wycliff St., St. Paul. Free. 651-207-5527 or newstudioarchitecture.com/gallery)

Alicia Eler