Accelerate! at the North Carolina Museum of Art
I am happy to announce that one of my recent pastel landscape paintings, entitled Platte River Road, January 2013, has been accepted as part of the current NCMA exhibition entitled Accelerate! This juried show coincides with the museum's Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed exhibition, addressing the theme of speed through a range of media. It will be on display from October 12, 2013 until January 20, 2014.
An open road: the ultimate invitation to acceleration. Speeding through the landscape in a private automobile is an important component of American identity. This work evokes the romance of driving and its implication in a socialized landscape, shaping practices of viewing and experience. Roadways and their signage are visible manifestations of invisible social, economic, and legal systems. Like the sign of a deer frozen in mid-leap, this painting stages an encounter between these static systems and the apparent freedom of auto-mobility. Furthermore, it evokes the changing pace of U.S. expansion. The Platte River Road was once a thoroughfare for wagon trains traveling west on the Oregon Trail. Today, it is part of the “flyover” states, places that coastal dwellers jet past on their way to ostensibly more important destinations. Locked within a drear cold winter, muffled beneath skiffs of January snow, this landscape evokes and complicates the mythology of speed.
Adding to the Mix: Raymond Jonson's Abstract Naught (1930)
The Ackland Art Museum will be exhibiting "Adding to the Mix: Raymond Jonson's Abstract Naught (1930)" and "In Pursuit of Strangeness" from June 14, 2013 until August 25, 2013. For information about visiting the museum, and various responses to our shows, please see the links below.
During the 2012-2013 academic year, I had the privilege of working at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Ackland Art Museum as an Eaton Curatorial Intern in American Art. As part of this internship, I designed and organized an exhibition of artworks from the museum’s collection. This became the latest installment in the Ackland’s informal Adding to the Mix series of installations, which exhibit new acquisitions in the evocative context of resonant works already in the collection. My show shares space with an exhibit entitled “In Pursuit of Strangeness,” by 2012 Joan and Robert Huntley Art History Scholar Erin Corrales-Diaz. Erin examines the theme of the “uncanny home” by juxtaposing works from the collections of the Ackland and the North Carolina Museum of Art. Though these exhibitions apply distinct approaches, we worked together in establishing formal relationships between the two shows, producing what we hope to be an aesthetically satisfying and coherent installation.
Raymond Jonson’s Abstract Naught (1930) is the centerpiece of my exhibition considering western landscapes and serial artistic production. Jonson’s 1924 move to New Mexico initiated his interest in landscape painting, while an earlier visit to the 1913 Chicago Armory show spawned an increasing investment in Modernist abstraction. Abstract Naught pivots between these impulses, marking Jonson’s last representational traces, while also anticipating his embrace of serial abstraction.
Beginning with Jonson’s divergent interests, my exhibition stages a conversation between western landscape representation and the artistic strategy of serial production or “seriality.” Situated in-between, Abstract Naught marks the juncture of these divergent trajectories. The theme of western landscapes, installed to the left of Jonson’s painting, includes notable works by Ansel Adams, Arthur Murphy, Minor White, Gustave Bauman, Danny Lyon, and Kimowan Metchewais. The theme of seriality is installed to the right, and it includes works by Lucas van Leyden, Francisco de Goya, Josef Albers, Robert Motherwell, Nikki S. Lee, and Cheryl Goldslegger.
Installation view of Arthur Murphy's Taos Plains #3 (left) and Raymond Jonson's Abstract Naught (middle).
Refinding Flyover Landscapes
I am honored to have one of my recent pastel paintings included in the upcoming Durham Art Guild show entitled SCAPES, jurored by Jennifer Dasal, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The following is my artist statement for the show, but it is also an aspiration statement of what I would like to achieve with this series as it progresses. The DAG show will run from May 1-May 25, 2013 at the DAG Suntrust Gallery in downtown Durham. For more information see the Durham Art Guild website link below.
Overlooking Dry Creek, December 2012 belongs to a series of pastel paintings of the Midwest and Western landscapes. They lie within the dismissively generalized “flyover states,” places that coastal dwellers pass over on their way to ostensibly more important destinations. The central plains have received little of the artistic attention that other parts of the country garner, as for example, with the oft-painted Catskills, Rockies, southwest, and New England coast. Yet the Midwest is also a place for which I feel an intense connection, having grown up in the plains of Nebraska and eastern Montana, and having spent my college years in the Missouri Ozarks. This series explores beauty in the mundane, a sensibility arising from knowing a place intimately and appreciating its everyday qualities. Dry Creek, which lies a short distance from my childhood home, here appears locked within the drear cold of a Nebraska winter, muffled beneath the blanketing December snow.
Beyond personal memories, my experience as an art historian has instilled a critical approach to landscape, as well as an appreciation for the conventions of the genre. Rather than signifying critique through modernist stylistic innovations, I am seeking to reorient given generic conventions as a meditation on the socialized environment. Landscapes as such do not exist apart from human interaction with a given place, and they are implicated in all the inequities, hierarchies, and systems of meaning that accompany human society. Picturesque landscape traditions have sought to conceal human presence or idealize the socialization of material environments. In this series, I am moving towards using roads, fences, electrical poles, architecture, and street signs as manifest traces of the legal, social, and cultural norms structuring the landscape.
These pastels also engage contemporary practices of landscape viewing and perception. Though they seem to conform to open air painting traditions, I actually worked in the comfortable confines of a warm vehicle. Prominent roads imply this mediated experience, leading one imaginatively into the landscape but also referring back to the viewing position: pulled over at the side of the road, looking through the panoramic screen of a windshield. I was able to work in the sub-zero conditions that accompanied these scenes, capturing views that would be difficult in the plein air mode, but also participating in contemporary norms of viewing and consuming landscape through technological mediation. As this series develops, I will continue exploring how to integrate these practices and critiques more intensively.
Previous Exhibitions and Press:
2008 Durham Art Guild Independent Show
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