Saturday, June 10, 2017

Landscapes of Life & Death

Donna J. Wan

Landscapes of Life & Death
by Mary Anne Redding
Guest Curator

The exhibition, Landscapes of Life & Death, offers a poignant opportunity to look at life, loss, death and the fragile ecosystems we inhabit. Spanning emotionally fraught landscapes of human death as well as environmental landscapes of devastation and renewal, six contemporary photographic artists, Lynne Buchanan, Kevin Horan, Marietta Patricia Leis, Ella Sala Myers, Kevin O’Connell and Donna J. Wan, address the nuances of loss and grief, both for themselves and for the planet, by examining our intimate connections with nature. The idea of death generally makes people uncomfortable, especially when it’s the intimate experience of human death, the death of a beloved pet, or the mass destruction of life and landscape after a devastating fire. Yet many artists explore the shape of loss as a meditation, whether through contemplation of their own passing or through a more universal meditation on loss and grief. Many artists are exploring the no-longer-subtle effects of climate change on the landscape, and on those of us who inhabit altered lands. Photographs, grounded as they are in the “real”—or at least some approximation of reality given digital interventions—reveal a unique vision of the cycles of life and death, often in a public setting. How do contemporary photographic artists grapple with the nuances of loss, of death and life, on both a personal scale and the broader scope of a seared landscape or endangered wildlife inhabiting polluted waterways and lands?