The Mountain and The
A Traveling ExhibitionSeptember 19– October 24, 2015 Organized by Chris McGinnis Contributing Visual Artists and Poets: Rick Barot Patrick Bizzaro Robin Clarke Matthew Conboy Todd Davis Wesley Dunning Heather Green BA Harrington Chele Isaac Chris McGinnis Erika Osborne Josh Reiman Gwyneth Scally Meg Shevenock
In 1842 the geologist and land surveyor John C. Frémont led a prestigious expedition to explore the Rocky Mountain territory. In his travel log Frémont records an unlikely high‐altitude encounter with a bumblebee where he imagines each of them to be the first of their species ever to brave such geological extremes. This unlikely encounter is suggestive of America’s unique brand of landscape nationalism that has historically attempted to reconcile both expansionist and conservationist thought. Romantic descriptions of Frémont’s adventures were published in the Emigrant’s Guide to California and effectively united the interests of science and nature within the cultural framework of national inheritance. After all, “landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock.”*
The Mountain and the Bumblebee brings together selected works by contemporary artists and poets who confront broadly defined notions of landscape as both cultural icon and raw material. Working in a variety of media including photography, sculpture, painting, digital media, and poetic verse, featured artists maneuver the complex web of references contributing to our understanding of landscape. Scenes from Hollywood westerns about survey photographs and miniature paintings to highlight America’s often contradictory role as both steward and exploiter of the land.—Chris McGinnis
*Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (New York: Alfred A. Knopf), 61.