Landlessness

BECCA ALBEE:  Response Two 2014Becca Albee, Amanda Curreri, Nina Elder, Pablo Guardiola, and Jennifer Nagle Myers

April 19- May 18, 2014

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 19, 6-9pm

Organized by Carrie Hott

But as in landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God – so better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to land!

–Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Ortega y Gasset Projects is pleased to present LANDLESSNESS, an exhibition organized by Carrie Hott featuring work by Becca Albee, Amanda Curreri, Nina Elder, Pablo Guardiola, and Jennifer Nagle Myers. Departing from the concept of landlessness as presented by Herman Melville in Moby Dick, the artworks in this exhibition navigate the unanchored states of a lack of ground, an aerial view, and a collapsed sense of time and space.

Each artist’s practice is informed by the malleability of language and contends with the role of history in our current relationship to land and place. Together, the work in LANDLESSNESS explores the periphery of a unique geographic center, walking along the edge of a point where physical existence meets the boundaries of awareness. The artworks converge in representing a tension between knowing, mourning, and learning a place within the limited capabilities of being human.

Becca Albee’s work often takes the form of photographs and videos and is a combination of research, observation, and chance. Her exploration of a place new to her, Santander, Spain, is accidentally documented by her cellphone, creating a visual record of the process of wandering without an agenda, muscle memory, or imprinted recognition.

Amanda Curreri has responded to the idea of landlessness as the place where death, belief, and ritual convene. She presents us with what started as flags for signifying and marking this territory. These flags, deconstructed and hand-dyed, shift away from universal signification and evoke intimacy, utility, and solace.

The work of Pablo Guardiola teases out the role of context and language in the creation of meaning. His work in response to landlessness represents a cliff, or a wall, or land on a simple beach towel. Stemming from research into Francis Drake, a British explorer who burned and pillaged his way through the Caribbean only to have a bay named after him in California, the towel embodies this contradiction, expressing both care and indifference to the landscape it portrays.

Jennifer Nagle Myers’ latest work seeks to give form to the complex relationship she has with land while living in Southwestern Pennsylvania during a historic and unprecedented natural gas boom. Through private investigations alongside public protest, Myers struggles against a force of impending landlessness. Her documentation through sculpture provides a place for optimism, mourning, and resistance to coexist.

Nina Elder’s practice involves extensive research into the history of land and its contentious political and economic use in the American West. Her drawings of historic hand-dug mines in northern New Mexico, created with graphite and dirt on paper, act as deep gray orbs that recede in the land as they float in space, evoking both portals and graves.

This exhibition is curated by Ortega y Gasset Projects member, Carrie Hott.

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Becca Albee, born and raised in Portland, Maine, is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She is a Yaddo and MacDowell Colony fellow. Residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Blue Mountain Center, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Program. She received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She will be in residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Summer 2014.

Amanda Curreri is an multi-disciplinary artist working in Oakland, California. Her work implicates personal and social histories in an attempt to instigate a public performance of desire. Curreri’s work has recently been exhibited at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Incheon Women’s Biennale in Korea. She is a recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship and a SF Guardian Goldie Award. Curreri holds an MFA from the California College of the Arts, a BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a BA from Tufts University in Sociology and Peace & Justice Studies. Curreri is represented by Romer Young Gallery in San Francisco, California.

Nina Elder grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico where she cultivated a curiosity about gravel pits, mines, and lumber mills. Her work examines the visual evidence of land use in the American West and its cycles of production, consumption, and waste. After earning her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, Nina returned to northern New Mexico where she co-founded an off-the-grid artist residency program called PLAND: Practice Liberating Art through Necessary Dislocation. She now is the Residency Program Manager at The Santa Fe Art Institute. Nina’s work is exhibited and collected nationally, and has been included in publications such as Art in America and New American Paintings.

Pablo Guardiola is a visual artist working across installation, sculpture, photography and editorial / curatorial projects. He co-founded and co-edits Set to Signal, an arts and culture bulletin concerning the future. Recently he started the project The Lecturers, a series of commissioned online seminars in English and Spanish primarily focusing on the production and consumption of knowledge through the visual arts. He co-directs Beta-Local, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Jennifer Nagle Myers is a visual artist based in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work is rooted in the belief that the future is bright against all odds and somewhere in it The Other is announced as The Self, and we move onwards from there. Her practice follows two trajectories: as a studio-based artist in sculpture, photography, printmaking, and drawing; and as director of public performances. Characters that return cyclically include: every woman who ever lived; an extinct river dolphin; the people of Pittsburgh; and her 1992 Saturn sedan automobile, just to name a few. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the US. She seeks gallery representation and is a Triple Libra.

Carrie Hott is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Oakland, CA. Her studio practice employs a variety of media to find origins, connect tangents, and locate invisible histories. In addition to her material practice, she regularly completes related projects that include mixed media presentations, classes, tours, and various collaborative endeavors. She received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and her BFA from Arizona State University. She has exhibited and presented projects nationally, most recently as part of an exhibition at Southern Exposure in San Francisco and a lecture for PLAND at ISEA 2012 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2014, she will be an artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts.