12 Nov Land Body
LAND BODY | Ogden Contemporary Arts Center
Curated by Kelly Carper
December 10, 2021 – March 13, 2022
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LAND BODY is a contemporary exploration of the connections between the human body and the landscape from the perspectives of eleven female artists. Working in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, exhibited artists pay particular attention to desert environments while speaking to relevant topics in today’s world such as environmental issues and climate concerns, cultural histories in relation to the land, female identity, and more. The show specifically draws metaphorical and physical correlations between desert landscapes and women’s bodies, while broadly reflecting on the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world. Artists work in a range of mediums including installation, photography, sculpture, painting, and video.
LAND BODY brings together artists from diverse cultural lineages who offer distinct perspectives and varied relationships with the land. Historical narratives relating to the African diaspora are explored and reclaimed through the work of Nikesha Breeze, whose film piece Stages of Tectonic Blackness points to the paralleled processes of dehumanization and extraction, emergence and rebellion, as sustained by Black bodies and rock bodies. Native American photographer Cara Romero’s exhibited images speak to visceral connections between indigenous women and their ancestral landscapes; the Santa Fe-based artist often comments on the hyper-sexualization of Native women in the histories of photography, and the environmental destruction of Native lands through her work.
Utah-based artist Wendy Wischer explores socio-political themes in her multi-media installation Battlegrounds, which compares today’s land ownership, management, and policy with the ownership, management, and policy around women’s bodies. Jaclyn Wright, another Utah-based artist, similarly explores the exploitation of the land and the female body through work that blends traditional photographic techniques with contemporary digital processes and performance.
Other artists who use performative practices in their work include Jill O’Bryan, whose large scale Desert Frottage drawings record her body’s interactions with the desert, and Chelsea Call, whose exhibited photographs represent her immersive experience as an artist resident in Bears Ears National Monument. An artist and art therapist, Call’s images observe the kinship between her body and the landscape in relation to grief and trauma. Brazilian-born artist Josie Bell’s paintings similarly connect human emotion with the landscape, using natural materials to depict the earth’s beauty as well as its scars, often through abstracted figurative forms.
Al Denyer, originally from England and currently based in Utah, is known for meticulous line work drawings and paintings that describe the landscape from different vantage points. For LAND BODY, Denyer brings the line to life with a fiber wall installation referencing a local mountain ridgeline. Her new medium specifically references traditionally feminine arts and craft materials such as thread and yarn, confronting classic ideas of femininity in art and its association with the landscape.
Desert landscapes of the Middle East and North African region are represented through the work of Tucson-based artist Sama Alshaibi, whose video piece Wasl (Union) examines connections between cultures that are under threat of displacement due to increasing water scarcity and rising ocean levels. This work is part of her experiential, seven-year Silsila project (debuted at the 55th Venice Biennale), which probes the human dimensions of borders, migration, and ecological demise.
Completing the exhibition in OCA’s second floor galleries is an immersive digital installation by Galician filmmakers Sonia and Miriam Albert-Sobrino, together known as the Also Sisters. An adaptation of their recent project, On the Margins of Metaxy, this piece draws viewers into a more liminal land-body experience using dreamy and disorienting imagery of the female body moving through shifting landscapes.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Kelly Carper is an independent art consultant, curator and art writer currently based in Ogden, Utah. She received her bachelor’s degree in Art History and Communications (Public Relations) from Virginia Tech, and has a background in fine art sales, gallery marketing and management in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has consulted with and provided services for art galleries, nonprofits and creative businesses on marketing and PR practices, and is a freelance writer for local and national arts publications. In 2019 she developed Carper Contemporary as a platform for independent art consulting and curatorial projects, including a series of six exhibitions at the Argo House in Ogden for locally based contemporary artists. She is passionate about expanding the presence of contemporary art in the community while supporting working artists. Learn more about her work at kellycarper.com.