Even with WMA’s spring quarter still in full swing, the museum’s staff is hard at work making final arrangements for summer exhibitions. Included in the upcoming schedule is Sight Lines, a collaborative project by artists Katie Hargrave and Meredith Lynn, that “explores the mediation of nature through the lens, the vehicle, air conditioning–through modern machines.”
In preparation for the exhibition, Katie and Meredith recently traveled out west to Joshua Tree, California, and sent us this update from the road. You don’t want to miss this unique exhibition, which opens in WMA’s Blumberg Gallery on the evening of July 18th at Art After Hours and will be on display through September 28.
Greetings from Joshua Tree, California! We write this from a picnic table outside an Airstream trailer parked in the desert, where we have spent the last few days shooting photo and video for our upcoming exhibition at the Wiregrass Museum of Art.
Our project started a couple years ago when we were driving across the country, returning from an artist residency with Signal Fire in eastern Oregon. We noticed how many people experience the United States through an RV, and how those vehicles facilitate a sort of relationship to nature. We began thinking about the various tools and machines we use to get closer to the wilderness, and how these modern trappings allow access to the outdoors, while always maintaining a safe barrier between us and the outside.
In January, we rented a van, turned it into a camera obscura, and drove it around state parks in Florida. The process involved blacking out all the light into the cargo area of the van (we covered the windows in black sticky plastic) except for one, small hole. That hole acts as a lens, and an image of the outdoors was projected onto the inside of the van. The camera obscura is old technology, the term was first used in 1604, and so it helped us consider the longer history of humans building tools to better understand the natural world.
We decided that we needed a different landscape to capture though, and so we came to the high desert of California. We’ve been living in an old Airstream for the past few days, appreciating the comforts (and inconveniences) of this lifestyle that we’ve been fascinated by for so long. We camera obscured it, and got some footage of the mountains and boulders projected onto the super-efficient furniture and appliances.
We also rented a van again and blacked out the windows and drove it around. This time we focused on Joshua Tree National Park, an area recognized since time immemorial by indigenous peoples and more recent European settlers for its desert oasis, namesake trees, views of the San Andreas Fault, and the unique ecosystem where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet.
It’s been an amazing week, and we’re really excited to come home and check out the footage we took. We can’t wait to share the work at the Wiregrass later this summer.
-Katie Hargrave and Meredith LynnView More Stories