Katrín Elvarsdóttir | Harnett Museum of Art
Anti-Grand: Contemporary Perspectives on Landscape
Thursday, January 15 to Friday, March 6, 2015.
On view January 15 through March 6, 2015, in the Harnett Museum of Art, is the exhibition Anti-Grand: Contemporary Perspectives on Landscape. The exhibition features 24 contemporary, international artists, artists’ collectives and game developers who examine, challenge, and re-define the concept of landscape while simultaneously drawing attention to humanity’s hubristic attempts to relate to, preserve, and manage the natural environment. Anti-Grand includes 33 works of art, with video, installation, video games, and traditional two- and three-dimensional work.
All of the works in the exhibition were created since 2000 to focus on art made well after the initial developments of the modern and popular discourse on environmentalism and sustainability. The exhibition’s title Anti-Grand suggests an approach to the topic that is opposite one of awe and reverie of the past, approaches that are now difficult to consider without an implicit sense of irony. Contemporary Perspectives of Landscape emphasizes the role of the artist’s and/or viewer’s choice of framing device as applied to both the represented scenery and the genre at large. Engaging humor, tenderness, ambivalence, and respect, the artists look at many facets of this subject. Unifying the exhibition are issues of representation that are inherent to the genre and the various ways in which artists have self-reflexively considered their relationship to the artistic subject.
As a starting point, the exhibition considers the idea of the landscape as “an aesthetic category par excellence.” This concept is explored in Kim Keever’s (American, born 1955) photographs and video of landscapes constructed in 200-gallon tanks filled with water, the experimental prints of photographer Matthew Brandt (American, born 1982), and the voyeuristic dioramas of Patrick Jacobs’ (American, born 1971) set into the walls of a gallery. Katrín Elvarsdóttir (Icelandic, born 1964), the artists collective Flatform, and Jon-Phillip Sheridan (American, born 1977) all explore how landscape is perceived and framed, both by the camera and the viewer.
The landscape is alternatively considered as a conduit of information, as seen in mixed-media works made from old maps and books by Doug Beube (Canadian, born 1950) and Guy Laramée’s (Canadian, born 1957), and Chun-yi Lee’s (Chinese, born Taiwan,1965) paintings of traditional-looking Chinese landscapes, made by applying ink in visible grids on paper, transferred from small cork stamps. The landscape is simultaneously considered as a lived and living space, as demonstrated in Martín Bonadeo’s (Argentinian, born 1975) installation that synthesizes the visual and the olfactory, the large-scale terrariums of Vaughn Bell (American, born 1978), and the cinematic paintings of Tom McGrath (American, born 1978), which inhabit the banal perspective of seeing the landscape through a car window.
The understanding of landscape is finally reconsidered from the perspective of digitally simulated environments, as through Jon Rafman’s (Canadian, born 1981) screen captures of Google Streetview’s more decisive moments, the pseudo-documentary photographs of species and environments created by the Institute of Critical Zoologists/Robert Zhao Renhui (Singaporean, born 1983), and the expansive worlds navigable in videogames such as Proteus by Ed Key (British, born 1977) and David Kanaga (American), Memory of a Broken Dimension by Ezra Hanson-White (XRA) (American, born 1982), and Purgateus by Devine Lu Linvega.
The complete roster of artists represented in the exhibition includes: Vaughn Bell (American, born 1978), Justin Berry (American, born 1980), Doug Beube (Canadian, born 1950), Elisheva Biernoff (American, born 1980), Martín Bonadeo (Argentinian, born 1975), Matthew Brandt (American, born 1982), Adam Cvijanovic (American, born 1960), Katrín Elvarsdóttir (Icelandic, born 1964), Flatform, Ezra Hanson-White (XRA) (American, born 1982), Kristin Holder (American, born 1973), The Institute of Critical Zoologists, Patrick Jacobs (American, born 1971) Kim Keever (American, born 1955), Ed Key (British, born 1977), Guy Laramée (Canadian, born 1957), Chun-yi Lee (Chinese, born Taiwan, 1965), Devine Lu Linvega, Linda Lynch (American, born 1958), Tom McGrath (American, born 1978), Jesse McLean (American, born 1975), Jon Rafman (Canadian, born 1981), Gerco de Ruijter (Dutch, born 1961), and Jon-Phillip Sheridan (American, born 1977).