Work by Ron Linn, Hannah Mortensen, Jena Schmidt, Mary Baum, Tiana Birrell
JANUARY 18 – MARCH 1, 2019
Storied Earth features the artwork of five artists who met while working at the BFA Studios at Brigham Young University seven years ago. Hannah Wertz Mortensen, Mary Baum, Tiana Birrell, Jena Schmidt, and Ron Linn found themselves continually looking out of the big north windows of the studios at Timpanogos, white and inscrutable on the horizon. As they each developed their individual research, a shared sense of connection to the land began to creep into the work, Utah worming its way in between line and form.
Years on, and the artists are still haunted by and drawn to the land in ways that they struggle to express in words. Language shapes landscapes, both internal and external, political and private, magical and mundane, metaphoric and literal. To name something is to know it, intimately, but how are we to name that which we don’t yet have the vocabulary for, or for which our words are inadequate? How might we come to read messages written in the stones and the water like we would from a book? And what of the particular language of ownership, that marks the edge of what we call wild? Caught in the intersection of language and landscape, words–whatever form they might take–attempt to record, reconstruct, and organize the human/earth relationship on both a personal and public scale.
The work in this show represents a communal lexicon of images and objects and texts which attempt to re-wild the word-shed, to locate the boundary between language and the earth, or perhaps to find a new language to even speak about it.
*Featured image: Mary Baum, Where Two Worlds Touch, Stone, glass, silicone, 2017