press release

Shifting Terrain: Landscape Video transforms the museum’s galleries, as the Currier presents moving image artworks by seven artists with ties to New England: Louisa Conrad, of Townshend, VT; Julia Hechtman, Jamaica Plain, MA; Liz Nofziger, East Boston, MA; Daniel Phillips, Jamaica Plain; Jeannie Simms, Cambridge, MA and Brooklyn, NY; Mary Ellen Strom, Jamaica Plain; and Suara Welitoff, Cambridge.

Shifting Terrain is part of the Spotlight New England Artists Series, which highlights the most talented early- and mid-career artists from the region and invites fresh perspectives on timely issues and contemporary art making. The exhibition features digital projections and video-based sculptures and installations that engage time, space and sound to explore contemporary perspectives on landscape subjects.

In Chores, Louisa Conrad highlights her intimate connection with the rural Vermont terrain, where she raises goats and sheep and produces and sells caramel candies and cheeses made from their milk. Conrad simultaneously makes videos that document daily life on the farm. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Currier’s café will offer daily specials that feature cheeses from Big Picture Farm, operated by Conrad and her husband.

Julia Hechtman’s videos, Convection and Look Out, feature the artist’s body fleetingly appearing in and out of view within natural terrain. Convection was shot in Joshua Tree National Park in California, and Look Out was shot in Australia. Both videos feature electronically produced audio that further suggests the tension between reality and fantasy.

Liz Nofziger’s Pore encourages museum visitors to look through an inconspicuous peephole in the gallery wall to see live footage of the exterior landscape beyond the museum’s walls. Visitors’ interactions with this peephole are similar to traditional viewfinders that tourists have used for years to observe spectacular urban skylines or natural attractions like Niagara Falls. Nofziger, however, focuses our gaze on a more mundane street scene with neighborhood homes, cars and pedestrians and playfully suggests that everyday landscapes have their own unique appeal. Chocorua, a second monitor-based work by Nofziger is installed alongside 19th-century landscape paintings in one of the Currier’s permanent collection galleries, offering a contemporary perspective on a familiar subject in these historic paintings.

In River Street, Daniel Phillips investigates the history of an old mill site – now a modern strip mall. This environment, along the Neponset River in Hyde Park, MA, functions as Phillips’ studio, where he works directly in the landscape. Phillips’ stop-motion video documents his time in this landscape, unearthing remnants of mill activity embedded in the ground. For Shifting Terrain, Phillips projects an animated sequence of images from the site onto materials like paper, plants and iron rebar collected from the surrounding environment – literally illuminating this landscape’s many layers.

In the only traditional narrative work in the exhibition, 1974 in California features an actress re-telling a real-life, first-person account of a Scottish immigrant’s experience in southern California. Jeannie Simms’ video juxtaposes views of an expansive western desert with shots of manicured lawns and housing developments paved with concrete. Simms contrasts the seemingly limitless desert terrain with fabricated, domestic landscapes to suggest the way memories exist as self-made accounts of actual past events.

Mary Ellen Strom’s immersive installation Dead Standing and Selva Oscura: Drawing of Dead Standing features two, perpendicular 15-foot wide projections — one a forest of Lodgepole Pine afflicted with beetle infestation in Montana, and the other of the artist making a charcoal drawing of this same forest from memory in her studio. Strom’s installation also includes a bench and frames for the projections made from the same pine pictured in the video.

Red Landscape by Suara Welitoff is a projection of industrial water-cooling towers reminiscent of those frequently seen at nuclear power facilities. Welitoff typically transforms imagery from popular media sources, like television. In Red Landscape, she manipulates found footage to slowly oscillate between intense red and a more neutral blue. In the context of current reevaluation of nuclear power associated with the recent tragedy in Japan, Red Landscape is particularly salient and underscores that just like moving images, our relationships with landscapes and their function in art constantly shift over time.

only in german

Shifting Terrain
Landscape Video

Künstler: Louisa Conrad, Julia Hechtman, Liz Nofziger, Daniel Phillips, Jeannie Simms, Mary Ellen Strom, Suara Welitoff