This exhibition brings together artists from across the United States—Carolina Caycedo, Demian DinéYazhi´ with Ginger Dunnill, Torkwase Dyson, Cy Gavin, Lena Henke, and Erin Jane Nelson—whose work responds to the precarious state of the environment through a personal lens. Experimenting with form and narrative in painting, video, and sculpture, these artists address how ideology—as much as technology, industry, and architecture—impacts all living things.
Though each contends with facts or histories that are real and observable, none takes a documentary approach. Rather, these artists adopt a highly subjective position, embracing emotion, intuition, spirituality, and myth to help understand our intrinsic place within the “natural” world. They share the sense that scientific, or “rational,” thought can reinforce a limited view of our planet and its inhabitants—one that assumes they can and should be controlled.
The works on view present a wide range of subjects, from the controversial transformation of New York in the mid-twentieth century by city official Robert Moses to the affirmation of a vital Indigenous presence in the face of institutionalized colonialism. They draw from distinct visual traditions, including Southern handcraft, sixteenth-century architecture, history painting, and hard-edge abstraction. Through their varied interests and formal approaches, all of these artists assert the relevance of individual experience and perspective to address concerns that are global in scale and effect. In the words of artist Torkwase Dyson, this exhibition is not just about “the way we connect...but understanding also the waters that are between us.”
(Cy Gavin, Aubade II (Spittal Pond), 2016. Acrylic, chalk and oil on denim, 57 × 118in. (144.8 × 299.7 cm). Collection of Nick Cave, image courtesy of Sargent's Daughters)