Not Only Natural Kenyon College Department of Studio Art Faculty Exhibition
Gambier is saturated by scenery; being in this place, you constantly see land. In meeting with the faculty in the Department of Studio Art, I was struck by the significant role the “natural”—in all of its complexity and constructedness—plays in their diverse practices.
Read Baldwin’s landscape paintings and tropical foliage studies convey a highly attuned experience of place; not only what is seen, but also what is felt: a sense of dislocation, reverie or envelopment. Marcella Hackbardt’s photographs of women in settings where the natural and artificial collide are full of allegorical layers. Craig M. Hill’s collages take up stylized symbols of nature, revealing their attached notions of home, beauty, wildness, and innocence. Ellen Sheffield’s artist books chronicle the earth and atmosphere, in documentary and reminiscent turns. Gregory Spaid’s photographic assemblages construct vivid metaphors alluding to private journeys, resource extraction, and man-made climate change. Emily Zeller’s video works show the human body as a powerful and vulnerable form that integrates the personal, biological, cultural, and cosmic.
Brought together, these works create an expansive dialog on the natural as both a malleable signifier and physical force. Ultimately, it is a shifting concept that reflects our most deeply held values, desires, and anxieties.
Not Only Natural is guest curated by Rose Bouthillier, Associate Curator / Publications Manager, MOCA Cleveland.
Rose Bouthillier joined MOCA Cleveland in 2011, where she has curated the recent exhibitions Simon Evans: Only Words Eaten by Experience (2013) and Dark Stars (2013); and co-curated Realization is Better than Anticipation (2013), featuring 12 artists connected to Cleveland and the surrounding region. Previously, Bouthillier curated numerous exhibitions in Canada, including Josh Thorpe: The House (2011), Campbell House Museum, Toronto; Sublimation (2011), Oakville Galleries, Oakville, ON; and To Be Real (2010), at Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto. Her writing has been published in frieze, C Magazine, Esse, and Art Criticism and Other Short Stories. Bouthillier holds an MFA in Criticism & Curatorial Practice from OCAD University in Toronto, a Diploma in Art History from the University of British Columbia, and a BFA in photography from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in Vancouver.