Imagine the air thick with the aroma of sage, wet soil, and piñon—scents the rain has unearthed from the dry, arid ground after months of drought. For artist Madeleine Tonzi, these aromas transports her to Santa Fe, her hometown defined by the mountains, the ponderosa pines, and the aspen forests. Petrichor, the earthy scent that follows rainfall, is also the title of Tonzi’s latest solo exhibition at Hashimoto Contemporary. Through a new series of archway-shaped paintings that act as portals to places that could be, Tonzi wonders how we can be in the right relation to and with land, rectifying the moments we find ourselves struggling against natural—and inevitable—cycles of life.

Floating conch shells, bending tulips, and totems of triangles held in half-dome bowls rest on window sills, levitating floors, and inside rainbow-like archways in the foreground of Tonzi’s scenes. The painter often colors her work according to the seasons as an attempt to ground herself in the Earth’s cycles amid an anthropocentric culture that resists them. Rendering her worlds in shades of brown, sienna, sage, and dusty pink, these works wear the palette of a world more closely aligned with the land; a world where we view ourselves as part of nature rather than separated from it. This rhythmic play between the paintings’ imposed architecture and imagined ecologies creates a single composition, confusing where human- made ends and natural begins.

The scenes deconstruct themselves, breaking the painting’s fourth wall. In Terrachrome, a waterfall spills out of the dirt-brown circular frame that rings around the rocky mountainous landscape in a dark green silhouette; the tulips, half-moons, raindrops, and seashells leap forward to pollinate a new ecosystem closer to our world—fitting for a show titled Petrichor. The Greek word combines the term pétra, rock, with ikhṓr, the ethereal blood of the gods, combining the natural world with something mystic, something sacred. Like the scent that rises from wet soil, the works in Petrichor recall a specific place and a renewed —reconstructed—love for it. “A love,” as environmental psychologist Glenn Albrecht puts it, “of the totality of our place relationships, and a willingness to accept the political responsibility for protecting and conserving them at all scales.” Tonzi asks us to consider our relations to land just as we might consider the relations between the moon and a mountain; a flower and the rain.

Petrichor opens on Saturday, June 1st with a reception from 5 pm - 7 pm at 1275 Minnesota Street, San Francsico.