Since the earliest cave paintings, artists have depicted nature to honor and understand the world around them. Beginning in the Renaissance, artists also became interested in depicting the beauty of man-made surroundings— architectural monuments — as a subject matter in their own right. Artists continue to explore the patterns and beauty in nature and architecture, and this fall, Richmond-area art galleries provide many opportunities to see how contemporary artists represent their surroundings.

Through Nov. 1, The Highpoint presents “The Hardest Hue to Hold,” featuring the photography of Kimberly Witham and a floral installation by Rhea Calpeno. Witham’s work has been influenced by natural history dioramas, cabinets of curiosity, and still-life painting and has been described in Wired magazine as “Martha Stewart Roadkill mashups [that] put a fly in the design-porn soup.” Calpeno uses locally sourced flowers, hand-dyed silk, and copper to create impermanent sculptures that are both wild and cultivated. thehighpointrichmond.com

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In the ink drawings by Bizhan Khodabandeh of James Moffitt’s serial comic “The Art of the Little Red Fish,” depictions of animals become political allegory — in this case, inspired by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. On view at Artspace through Sept. 22. artspacegallery.org/

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Beginning this month, the Uptown Gallery exhibits the work of Ellen Wakefield, whose impressionistic acrylics evoke the grace and strength of trees; Joyce Satterwhite, who paints landscapes and cityscapes of Europe and North America; Virginia Hickey, who highlights Earth’s beauty through oil, watercolor, and porcelain paintings; and Beverly Jane, who depicts the fall of light and shadow on buildings in the Fan. uptowngalleryrichmond.com/

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Through Oct. 18, The Reynolds Gallery presents “Infinity Fields,” by Joan Elliott, who received her BFA in painting from VCU and has taught for more than 25 years at the VMFA’s Studio School. Elliott brings together the lushness of nature with architectural geometric patterns seen during her travels in Europe.

The gallery also presents work by Alison Hall, who became interested in the repetitive patterning in 13th-century Italian art and architecture when studying abroad in Corciano, Italy. In “Blind Arcade,” UVA alum Matt Kleberg displays abstract paintings inspired by “little architectural moments” the artist encounters in Brooklyn. Artist and writer Ray Kass exhibits a series of paintings that evoke the essence of the natural world beginning Nov. 1. reynoldsgallery.com

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In September and October, the Petersburg Area Arts League displays the work of La Milpa owner Martin Gonzalez, who uses the Mexican Popotillo technique of producing art with colored straw to depict nature. paalart.org

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“Land, Sea, & Sky: Explorations in Collage, Print, and Stitch” opens Sept. 20 at the Crossroads Art Center, with works by Jan Hodges, who conveys the essence of nature. crossroadsartcenter.com

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From Oct. 30 to Dec. 20, the Weinstein JCC presents “Lynn Goldstein: Process.” An award-winning artist who exhibits worldwide, Goldstein uses texture, light, shadow, and color to express the emotional experience of being in nature. weinsteinjcc.org/cultural-arts/sara-d-november-gallery

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From Nov. 1 to 23, Glavé Kocen Gallery presents the works of Rich Bowman, who creates atmospheric skylines and landscapes, and Fred Lisaius, who focuses on botanicals. glavekocengallery.com

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Beginning Nov. 5, The Visual Arts Center of Richmond will present the work of artists-in-residence Lily Cox-Richard and Michael Demps, inspired by their walks along the James River. www.visarts.org/exhibitions/

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On Nov. 15 and 16, 1708 Gallery’s InLight Festival brings art to nature with a free, public exhibition of contemporary light-based artworks at Chimborazo Park. www.1708gallery.org/inlight/about.html

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Nude bodies, clothed bodies. Sacred bodies, secular bodies. For millennia, when artists haven’t been depicting nature, they have dedicated their talents to capturing the human body in its varied forms.

VCUarts Art Foundation and Graphic Design adjunct faculty member Emily Sara displays new work exploring the realities of people battling long-term or chronic illness in The Anderson’s Excellence in Adjunct Research Exhibition from Aug. 20 through Sept. 25.

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From Sept. 18 through Oct. 23, The Anderson displays photographer and performance artist Liz Cohen’s video work “Hydro Force,” which suggests parallels between her transformed custom car and her own body during pregnancy, exploring the culturally enforced combination of the sexualized female body and stylized car. arts.vcu.edu/programs/theanderson/

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Damien Davis’ “Color Cargo,” on view at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond from Sept. 6 through Nov. 3, addresses representations of race, creating a space for confronting bias and dehumanization. visartscenter.org

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Glavé Kocen Gallery presents “Configuration,” a group exhibition featuring figural artists, including Elisabeth Ladwig, Nils Westergard, Elizabeth Coffey, Christopher Peter, Rob Browning and Stanley Rayfield, Sept. 6-28.

From Dec. 6 to 28, the gallery presents the Richmond premiere of Tom Chambers’ “Tales of Heroines,” a series of figurative photomontages, alongside Kimberly Wheaton’s fantastical anthropomorphic figures.

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“In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens We Made Armor and Sanctuary” is on view at Sediment from Nov. 1 through Dec. 8. The exhibit provides a space for black-women-identifying artists Mahari Chabwera, Taylor Simone, Nastassja Swift, Christa Pratt and Abigail Lucien to challenge representations of black womanhood. sedimentarts.org

Contact Joan Tupponce at jtuppo@verizon.net.

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