Landscapes of Life & Death was a group photography exhibition in the upstairs gallery guest curated by Mary Anne Redding for PhotoSummer 2017 and in conjunction with the downstairs exhibition Fires of Change. Landscapes of Life & Death examined how photography poses a unique opportunity to look at loss, extinction, death and renewal, spanning emotional landscapes of human death as well as environmental landscapes of destruction. Six contemporary photographic artists including Lynne Buchanan, Kevin O’Connell, Kevin Horan, Marietta Patricia Leis, Ella Sala Myers and Donna J. Wan addressed the nuances of loss and grief for themselves and the planet by examining our intimate connections with nature. Generally, the idea of death makes people slightly, if not wholly, uncomfortable, especially when it’s the intimate idea of human death, the death of a beloved pet, or the mass destruction of life and landscape after a devastating fire. Yet many artists explore the shape of loss as a meditation on the landscape of death, whether contemplating their own or through a more universal meditation on loss and grief. Many artists are exploring through their lenses the no longer subtle effects climate change is having on the landscape and those of us who inhabit altered lands. Photographs, grounded as they are in reality, or some approximation of reality—given digital interventions, pose a unique opportunity to look at the cycles of life and death, often in a public setting. How do contemporary photographic artists grapple with the nuances of loss of both death and life on a personal scale or through examining the scared embers of a seared landscape or the endangered wildlife on polluted waterways? Participating artists include Lynne Buchanan, Kevin Horan, Marietta Patricia Leis, Ella Sala Myers, Kevin O’Connell and Donna J. Wan
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Mary Anne Redding (born Washington DC, 1960) is a writer and curator, currently she is the curator and assistant director of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Ohio University, an M.A. in Arts Administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an M.L.S. from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, as well as an advanced certificate in Museum Studies from Arizona State University. Before taking her post as Curator at the Turchin Center, Redding was the Curator of the Marion Center for Photographic Arts and the Chair of the Photography Department at Santa Fe University of Art & Design. Previously, she was the Curator of Photography for the Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum. She has written and published numerous essays on photography and contemporary art.
Kathaleen Roberts, “Blunt Visions” Albuquerque Journal