Artists in ‘Mobilizing the Landscape’ discuss their work
The Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery welcomed a new exhibit, “Mobilizing the Landscape” this semester, curated by art professor Emily Lambert and featuring 14 artists.
According to Lambert, this exhibit has been in the works for over a year and was postponed last spring due to COVID. Her original goal was to have the exhibit be in conjunction with her honors landscape class, but now she is just grateful to finally have the exhibit be public to her students and the rest of the Keene community.
The exhibit features 14 talented artists and their art surrounding the idea of landscape. It contains paintings, sculptures, videos and other kinds of mixed media. “I was looking at artists that I felt like had interesting approaches [to landscape], and would be inspiring for students,” Lambert said. The exhibit explores a lot of nontraditional ways of representing place and space.
Artist Maureen Cavanaugh talked about her paintings that are included in the exhibit, “The focus was from my travels,” Cavanuagh said. “And [includes] landscapes and interpretations of what I was seeing or had seen in the past trips.” For this exhibit, Cavanaugh worked off memory rather than using the photos she took during the trips.
Technique wise, Cavanaugh used aluminum flashing which uses a very thin and fragile type of aluminum that is then sanded down to paint on top of. “I move through them quickly and like very quick brush strokes,” she explained. “ And then I usually look at them and see a more representational picture and then build a landscape out of that.”
Cavanaugh also loves using unrealistic colors for her paintings and embraces that technique. “Like a purple mountain,” she mentioned, “I’m not trying to achieve a true depiction of a landscape. I try to keep it as free as possible.”
Another artist featured in the exhibit was Claudia Peña Salinas with her video media project titled “Metzilocan.” In the video, she uses the water deity Chalchiuhtlicue along with the Aztec word for moon (metzil) and the Aztec word for water (atl), to create imagery. “It’s a journey to find a waterfall,” Salinas described. “And also going to where the deity worships.”
The video also has clips of monoliths that were found an hour outside Mexico City next to a moon pyramid. This project represents landscape as it is ”narrating the journey of looking for [the] waterfall and being by the moon pyramid,” Salinas said.
Salinas was originally trained as a painter but overtime became more comfortable speaking out about her culture, and made more projects based around that. “I did not want to reference gender or identity, nothing like that and my work so all my work was more in line with minimalist work,” she added.
As a video media artist, Salinas comes across different and more extreme obstacles than most artists do. “There’s always obstacles of danger,” she said. “There’s a shot in the [exhibit] video that’s from above and [it’s] me going on top of an air balloon.” She did this in order to obtain the shot of the pyramids and mentions how she had to persevere through her fear of heights for this project, along with others.
Lambert strongly encouraged people to come see this exhibit. “Looking at art helps us understand ourselves and the world around us…and looking at different kinds of work can help us see different possibilities of representing our own stories,” Lambert said.
The artists in this exhibit made their pieces to relate to the audience but also to have them take away a sense of joy out of their work. “[Bringing] simplicity of a good feeling, not anything complicated,” Cavanaugh said.
Cavanaugh is holding a reception at the Thorne Art Gallery on Thursday November 18 at 6 p.m. to discuss her art. The exhibit walkthrough itself, originally planned for November 6, is being rescheduled to a future date that is yet to be determined, and will be updated on the Thorne Gallery website.
Nicole Dumont can be contacted at