DVD projection, single channel, color, sound element
Into The Trees
June 21 – November 30th, 2008
Curated by Lilly Wei and Amy Lipton
The Fields Sculpture Park is pleased to present its 10th annual summer exhibition, Into the Trees. The exhibiting artists are Polly Apfelbaum, Sanford Biggers, caraballo–farman, Elizabeth Demaray, Stephen Dean, Katie Holten, Jason Middlebrook, Alan Michelson, Cordy Ryman, Shinique Smith,Chrysanne Stathacos and Saya Woolfak.
The exhibition title is borrowed from Ernest Hemingway's novel, Across the River and into the Trees and functions descriptively. A site-specific, open-ended project, it is as much -- if not more -- focused on the idea of a fixed point and the proliferation from that point as a metaphor for the creative process as it is on environmental issues. Into the Trees is interested in how each participating artist, given a tree as a common element and initial stimulus, will arrive at an innovative, utterly individual resolution.
For Into the Trees, eight artists have been invited to select a living tree from the 100-acre site of The Fields Sculpture Park at Omi International Art Center in Ghent, New York. The artists will work with their tree on a site-specific installation and must therefore take into consideration the temporality of their construction and materials as well as the natural surroundings and are asked not to harm the tree, the only restriction.
The exhibiting artists outdoors are:
Polly Apfelbaum, Elizabeth Demaray, Stephen Dean, Jason Middlebrook, Alan Michelson, Cordy Ryman, Shinique Smith, Chrysanne Stathacos and Saya Woolfak.
Into the Trees will continue indoors as the debut exhibition in the newly completed 1500 sq. ft gallery space in the Charles Benenson Visitor Center. Three artists will make use of the gallery space as a continuation of the outdoor exhibition. Katie Holten, from Ireland, will recreate her sculpture, Excavated Tree: Missouri Native (Flowering Dogwood), a monumental tree sculpture produced and exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in 2007. Holten represented Ireland in the 2005 Venice Biennale. Working in video, installation and photography, the artist team of Argentinian-born Abou Caraballo and Iranian-born Leonor Farman have been collaborating since 2001 and have recently exhibited at the Tate Modern in London. For Into the Trees, they will create a new work consisting of a live video feed transmitted from the roots of a sapling planted outdoors to a monitor in the gallery, a "performance of growth" that can be watched in real time. Sanford Biggers, a New York-based artist from Los Angeles, will exhibit Cheshire (2007), a video sequence where, in turn, a different black male dressed in his work uniform climbs--or tries to climb--a tree: a fencer in white knickers; a dentist in scrubs; a lawyer in a suit. Tree-climbing as a stand-in for social climbing, its darker reference is to strange fruit, depicting, according to the artist, "black men hanging out in trees, as opposed to being hung from them."
In conjunction with Into the Trees, The Fields Sculpture Park is pleased to present:
Twitchers and Cheaters, a one-person exhibition by New York artist, Nina Katchadourian.
Twitchers and Cheaters, a new work by Katchadourian will be installed outdoors at the Fields Sculpture Park at Art Omi. "Twitcher" is a slang term for a birdwatcher, and avid birdwatchers frequently keep a "life list" of the birds that they have personally observed. This list is the source of great pride for many birdwatchers, since they will often travel long distances to be able to observe new birds. Ultimately, however, every birdwatcher's "life list" relies on a kind of honor system since there is no easy way to prove bird sightings, which often happen in a fleeting manner and in very remote places while the birder is alone.
Twitchers and Cheaters consists of a multi-channel video project installed into tree branches. On the monitors in the trees, viewers will see images of birds appear and disappear rapidly and intermittently from monitor to monitor. Any bird in the northeast that could conceivably land in a tree at the Fields has been included in the footage, and also many others that would be much more rare and harder to spot in this location. The images flit from screen to screen, and as such prompts a viewing experience that resembles the quick and "twitchy" experience of birdwatching itself. However, by watching the video screens in the woods, a viewer can effectively assemble a "cheater's life list" of all the birds of the northeast in the space of only few minutes.
Katchadourian's work often plays with the human relationship to the natural world and asks us to consider what we go to nature to find. Twitchers and Cheaters pokes fun at our longstanding human tendency to collect and categorize, as well as the competitive strain that we bring to activities even as pastoral as birdwatching. It also asks us to reflect upon the impatient temperament of our culture by taking our thirst for time-saving strategies to such an extreme that it turns an activity such as birdwatching, which by definition requires patience and keen observation, into something comically oversimplified and absurdly efficient.
Nina Katchadourian, Twitchers and Cheaters
The Fields Sculpture Park
Omi International Arts Center
June 21 – November 30th, 2008
Curated by Kathleen Triem and Peter Franck
For further information please contact:
Amy Lipton, Director
The Fields Sculpture Park at Omi International Arts Center
518 392 4747 thefields @ artomi.org