Helen Glazer: Walking in Antarctica
Helen Glazer visited the Antarctic for two months in 2015 as a participant in the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. The overall goal of her artistic practice is to provide people “with an understanding of scientific concepts of growth and form in nature and the physical processes that shape the landscape.”
To accomplish this goal in the Antarctic, Glazer photographed ice and geological formations. She used these images as the basis for scans from which she made 3D printed sculptures. Based on these photographs, she also compiled a series of audio tours of the Antarctic landscape that include walks over frozen lakes, around glaciers and sea ice formations, into an ice cave, across fields of boulders, and through a colony of nesting Adélie penguins.
The multimedia project that resulted from this journey provides a unique representation of the world’s most forbidding landscape.
Materials for this exhibition are drawn from Helen Glazer’s project archive at the Center for Art + Environment Archive Collections.
David Maisel: Proving Ground
Photographer David Maisel’s archive of the Proving Ground project lends rare insight into his encounter with one of the most secretive of American military zones. The archive reveals the depth of his photographic and time-based media investigation of Dugway Proving Ground, a classified site covering nearly 800,000 acres in a remote region of Utah’s Great Salt Lake Desert. From its inception during World War II to the present day, Dugway’s primary mission has been to develop and test chemical and biological weaponry and defense programs. After more than a decade of inquiry, Maisel was granted rare access to photograph the terrain, testing facilities, and other aspects of this deliberately obscured region of the American atlas. He photographed the site from both the air and the ground.
This body of work explores questions surrounding military power, national security, land use, and the limits of technology and human endeavor. Proving Ground is a critical response to the extraordinary formal and political aspects embedded at Dugway, in Maisel’s words, a “hidden, walled-off, and secret site that offers the opportunity to reflect on who and what we are collectively, as a society.”
Materials for this exhibition are drawn from David Maisel’s archive of the project held at the Center for Art + Environment.
Kesler Woodward: The Harriman Expedition Retraced
Kesler “Kes” Woodward is one of Alaska’s most renowned painters, known for his colorful paintings of northern landscapes. He taught art for two decades at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and is now Professor Emeritus. In 2001 he was appointed the Harriman Scholar and Expedition Artist for the 1899 Harriman Expedition Retraced, a reenactment of one of the most ambitious scientific explorations made during the 19th century.
Organized by Edward Harriman, a wealthy railroad magnate, the Harriman Expedition was a 9,000-mile exploration along the coast of Alaska. The top American experts of the day were invited, including geologists, botanists, foresters, ornithologists, paleontologists, zoologists, painters, photographers, and writers. Explorers John Muir, John Burroughs, and George Bird Grinnell, and the then-unknown photographer Edward Curtis were among the group.
In 2001 Thomas Litwin of Smith College led a trip to follow the path of the original expedition. Two dozen scientists, artists, and writers left Prince Rupert, British Columbia aboard the Clipper Odyssey, to follow Harriman’s itinerary through the Inside Passage, up the Gulf of Alaska and along the Aleutian Archipelago, then northward through the Bering Sea. Four weeks later they made their final stop in Nome, Alaska.
William Cronin, a contemporary team member and a renowned historian, noted: “What we are doing is seeing this landscape at two moments in time. We’re seeing it through that expedition in 1899 and seeing it at the beginning of the 21st Century.
Materials for this exhibition are drawn from Kes Woodward’s archive of the journey held at the Center for Art + Environment.
Material Expressions of the Dreaming: The Aboriginal Collection of Ellen Crawford
In 1980, Ellen Crawford arrived in Australia while working as an itinerant archaeologist. Initially, she worked under the direction of the legendary archaeologist John Mulvaney at the Australia National University, followed by fieldwork under his direction in Western Australia south of Perth, before she ventured to Darwin on the northern edge of the continent.
Most of Crawford’s collection came from Arnhem Land, which lies east of Darwin, but some works in this exhibition—such as the toy woomera and spears, the paperbark collage paintings, and the coolamon originated in the northern reaches of Western Australia known as the Kimberley and the Central Desert. Crawford began collecting Aboriginal objects before the existence of art centers run by Aboriginal communities in remote places such as Maningrida and Yirrkala. She was able to buy a few items from a trading post at Maningrida and other items from commercial galleries elsewhere in Australia.
The objects in the Crawford collection range from paintings and small sculptures through spears, dilly bags (used for transporting food), and coolamon (used for carrying food, but also cradling babies). They illustrate both craft and artistry, their designs reflecting the inherited family responsibilities for keeping alive the stories of ancestral beings in the Dreamtime stories. While not formerly regarded as art objects in Western traditions, now they are seen as objects residing along a cultural spectrum where the lines between utilitarian and ceremonial objects, and painting and sculpture, are less fixed and more permeable.
Bethany Laranda Wood: The West at Hand
While working in the field with the Land Arts Program of the American West, Bethany Wood collected images and impressions of major land features, such as Spiral Jetty and the Bingham Copper Pit. But she also kept note of the nomadic encampment deployed by the class, and from that created a unique metal-and-paper pop-up “book.” Her works take some of the largest land interventions in the West and transform them into small intricate sculptures you can hold in your hand.