Seedlings at Dallas Contemporary
17 June – 8 August 2010
161 Glass Street
Dallas, Texas 75207
Featuring: Hilary Berseth, David Brooks, Jedediah Caesar, Jessica Halonen, Hilary Harnischfeger, Christopher K. Ho, Virginia Poundstone, Gilad Ratman, Lucy Raven
Curated by Regine Basha
What can bees teach us about modernist aesthetics? How is a beauty regime invested in environmental conservation? How are we ingesting, destroying, and/or merging with plant-life, mud, soil, crystals, algae, and flowers in our built environments?
Seedlings brings together nine emerging artists to the newly-renovated cavernous space of the Dallas Contemporary. Each artist investigates ways nature or natural systems have informed human industry and the evidence of a hybrid process of productivity. Through a reconsideration of methodologies of artmaking, the works focus on the possibility of collaborations with nature, degrees of interconnectivity, mimesis and its discontents, and entropy as an ecstatic state.
Hilary Berseth‘s work engenders a co-production with bees as he offers an aesthetic intervention into the honeycomb. David Brooks focuses on natural corrosion in industrial areas and proposes absurd solutions. Jedediah Caesar amalgamates natural resources, such as soil and petrified matter, with bits of waste and plastic detritus to create sculptural cross-sections of a new crust of earth. Jessica Halonen‘s delicate gouache drawings explore the use and abuse of genetically modified plants in the pharmaceutical industry. Hilary Harnischfeger‘s geode-like wall reliefs expose a process of natural disintegration in direct collision with a hand-made build up of base materials, resulting in dense objects of wonder. Christopher Ho wryly incorporates high-end facial moisturizer made with blue-green algae (by La Prairie) into his own renditions of Thomas Gainsborough paintings. In her multi-faceted sculptural and print installations, Virginia Poundstone tracks the history of the flower industry from its role in the first economic bubble to today’s trade and the administration of the natural world. Gilad Ratman and Lucy Raven have both produced films that deal with immersion into the ground. Gilad Ratman‘s symbolist film installation mingles early experimental film tropes with reality films about bog-diving, picturing adventurous figures submerging themselves into mud for hours at a time. Lucy Raven‘s episodic film made from still photos and sound collage chronicles the production of copper wire between a mine in the US and a smelter in China.
Through these various natural materials, many of the works foreground conceptual and art historical references as well as possibilities for post-earthwork conversations. As a whole, the exhibition also highlights artists’ renewed interest in and inventiveness about landscape, earth art, still life, nature docu-dramas and botanical drawings among other traditional nature genres.