The Power Plant

To What Earth Does This Sweet Cold Belong?

11 Mar - 29 May 2011

© Erin Shirreff
Roden Crater, 2009.
Single-channel HD video (still)
Courtesy the artist and Lisa Cooley Fine Art, New York.
11 March - 29 May, 2011

Andrea Carlson, Annie MacDonell, Kevin Schmidt, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino, Erin Shirreff

To What Earth Does This Sweet Cold Belong? refracts the natural world through five younger artists’ meditations on and mediations of the landscape.

The artists in this exhibition craft topographies of the imagination detached from geographic reality and the experience of actually “being there.” Instead they filter their images of the earth through conceptual practices, archival research, cultural references, and technologies of simulation. After years of critically debating the landscape genre – particularly in Canada – these artists achieve complex, fantastical visions of land, sky and sea apropos to the twenty-first century.

Annie MacDonell’s sculptural “iceberg” and her black-and-white photographic collages draw from the 1967 patriotic photographic tome To Everything There is a Season by Roloff Beny, developing the book’s overtly mystical view of the Canadian landscape. Jennifer Rose Sciarrino produces delicate sculptures that simulate elements of the natural environment, evoking the uncanny with mountains carved from paper and artificial geological crystals cast from resin. Erin Shirreff began making her 2009 video Roden Crater by printing out a photograph found online of James Turrell’s unfinished monument of land art. She then rephotographed the image under various kinds of lighting, artificially mimicking the changing sky above the crater. Andrea Carlson’s mixed-media pieces feature vibrant seascapes and iconic images from a variety of sources (such as museum artifacts) enclosed in ornate irises; these works on paper position waterways as fluid cultural conduits of trade, interaction and conflict. Finally, Kevin Schmidt’s 2009 video Disappearing Act stages an odd optical illusion in the wilderness. Schmidt located a majestic vista and reproduced it with paint onto a nearby tree, thereby transforming its trunk into a kind of hollowed-out viewfinder – at least on first glance.

Tags: Kevin Schmidt, Erin Shirreff, James Turrell