Answering Earth

What did your ancestors need but could not get to? 

 

What healing evaded them but is available to you? 

 

What do you know you need to make peace with in your lifetime so that their struggles, their mistakes, their misfortunes, need not have been in vain? Without meaning?

Alex Gabriel

My studio work is an art practice as a method to create space for questions held in somatic, cultural, and ecological bodies. My paintings are my own understanding of landscapes as relational spaces through which I can approach, slip between, and dissipate the questions above. Since moving from Iowa to western Colorado, my studio practice has become explicitly connected to the land, in a generative practice of finding new ways to move through it. Literally tromping up a mesa to draw the next hill over, the canvas sketches are post cards or even maps created on the trail. Larger paintings completed at home are bundled and brought back out to the land, and instead of documenting, they become quilts to lay over barbed wire and interrupt someone else’s interruption of the horizon. These are not wilderness spaces, but they stir a wildness in me that drives a desire to reimpose the landscape back upon itself. Since I find myself in spaces that give me that pleasing sense of my own smallness. Creating a conversation with the land as best I can, in an act of aesthetic reciprocity, I have been using drawing and painting to orient myself in these new landscapes. 

 

In our contemporary time of the Anthropocene and all that that implies, healing our trauma related to the landscape drives this work, which stems from my need for a type of rest originating in my body, and I intend my paintings/drawings/prints to empathize and alleviate that need. This work began with asking myself a series of questions, and although the objects are not the answers I originally desired- they have become spaces where I look to be honest with ourselves about the aesthetic dimension we are living in. 

'Answering Earth' archives 15 artworks displayed in the virtual exhibition Answering Earth— organized by Rural Midwest Artist Collective, with guest juror Jason Brown (@miningthelandscape). The exhibition called for any media concerned with the subject of land-use. 

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