Kristen Hutchinson: From Sky to Ground: Fragmented Landscapes

25 September–24 October in the ProjEx Room

Opening Reception Friday 25 September, 8:00 PM

Culled from strips of National Geographic photographs, From Sky to Ground: Fragmented Landscapes is a series of 320 collages that deconstruct and combine many environments to create newly abstracted landscapes. From the opening night onwards, the collages will be sold individually. Viewers will immediately retrieve the landscapes they have just purchased and place a small red dot within the empty space. Through this process, viewers/owners become actively engaged in further fragmenting and eroding the installation.

From Sky to Ground: Fragmented Landscapes

Sky, clouds, mountains, hills, trees, shrubbery, fields, grass, flowers, water, rocks, sand, earth. Culled from strips of National Geographic photographs, From Sky to Ground: Fragmented Landscapes is a series of over 200 collages that deconstruct and combine many environments to create a newly abstracted landscape. Cut from images printed during the 1980s and early 1990s, the series explores how the magazine’s photographs of landscapes continue to replicate the notion of the picturesque. Devoid of people or animals, the collages present landscape as a pristine and unoccupied canvas upon which an idealized view of nature could be imposed. However, due to the fragmentation and abstraction of these collage landscapes, this ideal picturesque becomes destabilised. Created in 2008-2009, From Sky to Ground: Fragmented Landscapes considers how the original landscapes photographed by National Geographic have likely transformed due to climate change, forestry, pollution, construction and human interaction. Begun while living in the dry, rolling hills of wine country in Washington State, From Sky to Ground also expresses the artist’s longing for the mountainous landscapes of Western Canada. The series seeks to make viewers interrogate their own cravings and searching for that illusive, perfect interaction with nature. What is your ideal landscape and why? What will become of these landscapes in thirty more years of environmental damage?


From opening night and throughout the course of the exhibition, the collages will be sold individually and viewers will immediately retrieve the landscape collages they have just purchased. Upon purchase, a small red dot will be placed by the viewer/owner within the empty space left by this process. Thus viewers are encouraged not only to buy the collage they find the most appealing but also where they wish to make a hole in the larger installation. If none of the works sell, the exhibition remains intact. If viewers do purchase the collages, they become actively engaged in a process of further fragmenting and eroding the display.

Kristen Hutchinson

Kristen Hutchinson is currently a full time sessional instructor of History of Art, Design and Visual Culture in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB. Prior to this appointment, she was a visiting assistant professor of art history and visual culture at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. She specializes in contemporary art, particularly European and North American sculpture, installation, video, television and photography. She is currently working on a book about morality and mortality in contemporary television and contemporary art.

Her most recent artistic project was a six-hour collaborative performance piece with Julianna Barabas, titled Refrained Reframe: A Sampling of the History of Performance Art, which took place at the Art Gallery of Alberta in May 2009. As a response to the “Leaving Olympia” exhibition curated by Ruth Burns, Barabas and Hutchinson sampled, paired, remixed and reframed iconic performance art works from 1965 to the present. Drawing upon themes of mortality, ethics, the gaze, and the idealized nude explored in the “Leaving Olympia” exhibition and employing strategies of duration, costume, gesture, choreography, use of props and audience participation, this performance project provided an expanded historical perspective and invited viewers to challenge their assumptions about the nude, identity and gender politics.

Her most recent exhibition “Whispering Voices on the Phone: Inspired by the play Apparition by Anne Washburn” took place at the Blackfish Gallery in Portland, Oregon in June, 2008. The exhibition consisted of a video installation and live performance incorporating select text from Apparition: An uneasy play of the underknown by contemporary playwright Anne Washburn. This experimental project stemmed from video projections created by the artist for a recent production of Apparition at the Harper Joy Theater at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA.” Whispering Voices on the Phone blurred the boundaries between theatre, performance and video art by combining video images from the original production, new footage of the cast, text from the play and a live performance by Seren Pendleton-Knoll. The exhibition installation presented a series of vignettes drawn from Apparition in which two suburban demons discuss the contents of a mysterious paper bag, a woman wonders if her apartment is haunted, a Lady Macbeth-like character tries to wash the blood off her hands and a man is awakened by what might be a succubus in his attic.

She is currently working on a number of new artistic projects including a collage series about desire, an exhibition project concerning graveyards with Sydney Lancaster, a Reframed Refrain video and as the deviser for The Twisted She Poems performance cycle in collaboration with T.L Cowan, Kelley Bolen, Mickey Vallee, Elaine Wannechko, and Jan Olesen.

Kristen Hutchinson received her PhD in the History of Art from University College London in 2007. Her dissertation was titled “The Body Part in Contemporary Sculpture: A Thematic Consideration of Fragmentation during the 1990s”. She received her M.A. in Art History from University of Western Ontario, a B.F.A in Visual Art from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and a B.A. in History, Political Science and Women’s Studies from McGill University. She has published articles and reviews on contemporary art in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. and has participated in exhibitions in Canada and the U.S.

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