LAND + PLACE + PERFORMANCE /
Curated by Laura Allred Hurtado
Al Denyer / Rachel Farmer / Levi Jackson / William Lamson / Jared Steffensen / Claire White
April 4 - June 28, 2014
Land + Place + Performance is an exhibition of six contemporary artists—Al Denyer, Rachel Farmer, Levi Jackson, Will Lamson, Jared Steffensen, and Claire White—whose work investigates landscape. Divided into two parts, terra firma and terra incognita, the exhibition explores representations of both known sites and foreign places. Photographs, installations, drawings, sculpture and video are all used to explore how the ways in which a place is rendered can often make the site both familiar and strange simultaneously.
Header image: Picket Fence, Levi Jackson
About the Curator
Laura Allred Hurtado currently works as the Global Acquisitions Art Curator for the LDS Church History Museum and as an art critic for Utah's 15 Bytes. Most recently, she published an article in the book Utah's 15: The State's Most Influential Artists on the artist Anna Campbell Bliss, presented research on the Turkish artist Canan Şenol at the College Art Association and curated two exhibitions which opened in February and March repectively: Practicing Charity: Everyday Daughters of God at the Church History Museum and Partial and Plural: Tracing the Intergenerational Self at the Rio Grande Gallery. She has previously worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Brigham Young University Museum of Art, and as the acting curator of education at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.
About the Artists
Al Denyer / Over the past decade, the focus of my work has been environmentally based. The world wide water crisis, commercially driven destruction of aquifers and watersheds, alongside the politics of claims to water rites, are all issues that drive me as a visual artist to create bodies of work, which draw attention to major environmental issues. As a personal response to the recent environmental changes in the Arctic Region, I have created different bodies of drawings and paintings, which explore the aesthetics presented by the coastline and ice sheets of the Arctic and reference a satellite viewpoint. These works, which play on the aesthetic beauty of the surface and reflective material used, present an interpretation of one of the planets’ most pristine and unspoiled areas. The Arctic series is a visual response to the terrain of the Arctic Region and surface ice sheets as seen from a satellite viewpoint. These works reference multiple satellite images, yet are not direct copies, instead function as fabricated compositions. Although my work starts with mapping, I am equally interested in the aesthetics of surface, particularly as seen from above. My use of satellite images as starting points, has lead me to further explore the portrayal of surface texture in my work, as seen in the ‘Surface Series’. In these works, I use silver prismacolor pencil to build up layers of texture and value. The surface of frozen lakes, Arctic sea ice and the inland terrain of the Arctic Region inspire the series. In presenting these different bodies of work, my intention is to not only show the beauty of the earth’s surface and the mark making capabilities of water through my own subtle mark making techniques; but also to highlight current environmental concerns presented by many of the world’s major river deltas and bodies of water. adenyer.com
Rachel Farmer / I am captivated by stories of my pioneering ancestors. I’m interested in what we inherit, everything from cultural biases to mannerisms to tacky memorabilia. What gets passed down through generations? What mythologies guide, or haunt our lives–either knowingly, or unknowingly? I see these pioneer figurines as ghosts (sometimes welcome, sometimes not) who inhabit my world, but ghosts I can pick up and play with. July 2010, was my first art adventure out west. With a band of six pioneer figurines (forever pushing and pulling their handcarts) I explored a small portion of the original pioneer trail in Wyoming. I eventually ended up in my home state of Utah, shooting in Salt Lake City and my hometown of Provo. These photos were taken alongside the making of a short video, titled Onward. When I came back to Brooklyn, I wondered what would happen if my pioneers finally set down their handcarts. From this came new sculptures featuring pioneer women at work and at rest. Since that first summer, many more of these ancestral figurines have accompanied me (or I have accompanied them) on subsequent western journeys.
Rachel Farmer (b. 1972, UT) received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has lived in Brooklyn, NY since 1999. Her art encompasses a variety of media including sculpture, drawing, photography and video. She was awarded a 2013-14 A.I.R. Gallery fellowship and recent exhibits include Ancestors (solo exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery, 2013), #throwbackthursday / #flashbackfriday, juried by Scott Chasse and Hrag Varatanian (Calico, 2013), and Illegitimate and Herstorical, curated by Emily Roysdon (A.I.R. Gallery, 2012). She teaches at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Parsons The New School for Design. rachelfarmer.com
Levi Jackson / I work as a derivative of the Western Landscape, specifically Utah. Historically, Utah was deemed a modern day ‘promised land’ where Mormon Pioneers escaped religious persecution and Western Expansion promised land and liberty. Having grown up in the West, aware of its outward beauty and majesty, I exploit the more subtle and subversive Western landscapes and cultures. The modern day Utah is a far cry from the sublime landscape Bierstadt depicted. Instead, the truths are located in the waste places. Chemical, nuclear, biological test sites, agricultural exploits, strip-mining, dried up lake-beds, cacti and coyotes; these are the signifiers of the new Western Landscape and the backdrop to the work I create. Using materials from army surplus, hunting, farming, and religious industries I create temporary installations and document them with photography. In the new Utah landscape I make interventions as a method to explore relationships with both material and metaphor. Born and bred in Utah, Levi attended Brigham Young University (BFA) and Pratt Institute (MFA). He recently moved back to Utah where he has a studio and teaches. levij.com
William Lamson / William Lamson is an American installation artist, performance artist, and generative artist. Lamson received his BA from Dartmouth College in 2000 and his MFA from Bard College in 2006. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work includes small performances and actions that create objects and images. williamlamson.com
Jared Steffensen / Jared Steffensen was born in Fairfax Virginia and had a habit of moving every 3 or 4 years, totaling 6 different cities, one island and two continents, before moving to Salt Lake for the first time in 1990. After 3 years in Texas, for graduate school, and 1 year in Rhode Island he returned home to Salt Lake in 2007. He earned a BFA in Intermedia Sculpture from the University of Utah in 2002 and a MFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. He was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant in 2006. His work has been exhibited throughout the US, in Mexico, Germany and The Netherlands and was included in books published by Berlin based Die Gestalten Press, Tangible and Arcadia and Flower Power by Barcelona based Index Press. He is currently the Curator of Education at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. jaredsteffensen.com
Claire White / Claire White is a Utah based artist who works in textiles, photography, installation, and performance. She received her BFA from Brigham Young University in 2013. Her work deals with memory, place, and spirituality. clairewhiteart.tumblr.com