Staging Ground at La Esquina Gallery at The Charlotte Street Foundation
“There does not exist a forest as an objectively fixed environment: there exists a forest for the park ranger, a forest for the hunter, a forest for the botanist, a forest for the wayfarer, a forest for the nature lover, a forest for the carpenter, and finally a fable forest in which Little Red Riding Hood loses her way.” – Giorgio Agamben, The Open: Man and Animal
In Staging Ground, the landscape is treated as subject, object, and location; a place for action, representation, and romanticization. Artists JE Baker, Carl Baratta, The Blue River Road Investigators (Trey Hock and Brent Jackson), Christopher Carroll, Rachel Frank, Jenny Kendler, Lilly McElroy, eduardo restrepo, and Rodrigo Valenzuela engage with the natural world using the landscape as a site for performance, intervention, fabrication, and exploration in order to address the storied relationship between humans and nature. These artists intrude upon a wilderness in which they can never completely belong, yet, drawing upon Agamben’s notion of shifting realities, they confront this separation, demonstrating their own reverential and at times hubristic tendencies in the process.
All images: EG Schempf for the Charlotte Street Foundation