Please note that the opening exhibition date has been updated to Thursday, September 19 (it was previously September 26).
"…it's hard to believe that we're falling now in the name of the Anthrocene."
–Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Anthrocene
For their first exhibition of the 2019/2020 academic year, BFA Visual & Critical Studies and the Flatiron Project Space present "LANDMARKS," a group exhibition curated by Kayla Gibbons, a 2011 graduate of SVA BFA Fine Arts, and a 2013 MFA graduate at Yale University.
From within the geological epoch dominated by humanity, "LANDMARKS" examines the influence of human existence upon the land—how the land is marked—and exposes the impact of development on pre-existing landscapes and communities from the urban center to the New American West.
Pointing to the financialization of nature under a government whose executive orders prioritize energy development over public land use, Jolene Rickard’s One Square Foot of Earth or One Square Foot of Real Estate—You Decide utilizes photography for the documentation of imminent disappearance. Rickard, a citizen of Tuscarora nation, makes use of the very medium that rose to prominence at the close of the 19th century as the American government began its takeover of the Great Plains. Rickard’s work is concerned with addressing the continued exploitation of Indigenous land wherein consumable resources are prioritized over the preservation of long-held histories.
Christian Hincapié’s work is an affirmation of community in the urban landscape: a sidewalk is a site of confluence where inscriptions become temporary icons before the cycle of displacement resumes under gentrification. Engaged with the dismantling of Robert Moses’ controversial legacy in New York, Hincapié’s work exposes the historical oppression impressed in building facades and public monuments, perpetuated through their continued presence.
In the millennial age, the designation of National Park exchanges wilderness for nature concerned with its own representability, sanctioned between gazebos, parking spaces and welcome signage—a promise for the picturesque. Dave Walsh’s The Scene begs the question: does landscape remain real when considered from a distance, as a spectacle, a scene and, ultimately, as a backdrop or stage set?
Benny Merris introduces his body directly into the landscape as a means of resistance against the passive experience of nature. In his ongoing series "An Other Another," Merris utilizes the constructed space of the photograph to reanimate place with a temporal intervention: imagination is interleaved with the stories the land already holds.
Aggregate is the accumulation of particles into a single body, a mass. JD Samson penetrates raw material to address the literal dirt and gravel comprising our corporeal experience in the physical world. Samson mines personal and family history in an attempt to better understand the relationship between culture and land in a shifting society.
Michael Handley’s practice is concerned with exposing our human capacity to affect and transform nature. As a result of increased temperatures due to climate change, devastating wildfires have ravaged the Western states in recent years. While the people of paradise rebuild and replant in the developed areas, fireweed quietly resumes growth in foothill grasslands and forests. The First Flower is a last herald of survival against human control of nature—overlaying scars of incineration with a spectacular pink bloom.