Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Mountain and the Bumblebee - 2014 - 16

In 1842 the geologist and land surveyor John C Fremont led a prestigious expedition to explore the Rocky Mountain territory. In his travel log Fremont records an unlikely high‐altitude encounter with a bumblebee where he imagines each of them to be the first of their species ever to brave such geological extremes. This unlikely encounter is suggestive of America’s unique brand of landscape nationalism that has historically attempted to reconcile both expansionist and conservationist thought. Romantic descriptions of Fremont’s adventures were published in the Emigrant’s Guide to California and effectively united the interests of science and nature within the cultural framework of national inheritance. After all, “landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock.” *
The Mountain and the Bumble Bee brings together selected works by contemporary artists and poets who confront broadly defined notions of landscape as both cultural icon and raw material. Working in a variety of media including photography, sculpture, painting, digital media and poetic verse, featured artists maneuver the complex web of references contributing to our understanding of landscape. Scenes from Hollywood westerns abut survey photographs and miniature paintings to highlight America’s often‐contradictory role as both steward and exploiter of the land.

Participating visual artists and poets:
Rick Barot, Patrick Bizarro, Robin Clarke, Mathew Conboy, Todd Davis, Wesley Dunning, Heather Green, BA Harrington, Chele Isaac, Chris McGinnis, Erika Osborne, Josh Reiman, Gwyneth Scally and Meg Shevenock

* Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (New York: Alfred A. Knopf), 61

Kipp Gallery, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Fall 2014
Media Arts Gallery, Robert Morris University. Spring 2015

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Philadelphia PA. Summer/Fall 2015
SPACE Pittsburgh. Winter 2015/16
Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. Lancaster Pennsylvania. Spring 2016

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