Written into Rock
Curated by Gina Iacobelli
April 6 - May 5, 2018
Our perception of the planet may be termed an aesthetic endeavor. The most immediate sensorial experience of our surrounding natural environment is that of its visual dimension. Our optical encounters with nature range from the grandest of vistas to the most familiar and intimate of scenery. Humankind has not only occupied these aesthetic spaces for millennia, but has filled the environment with their own constructions, at times integrating their presence and at other times obliterating the natural landscape.
Written into Rock is an exploration of the ways in which humans have altered the natural landscape and how this activity has accelerated in the shadow of industry and capitalism. Inspired by the writings of Donna Haraway and Heather Davis and their exploration into the Anthropocene, a new geologic era defined by humans’ mark on the geologic record, this exhibition will examine how artists explore the distinctions between “nature” and “human culture” and the integration of the two.
Such an exploration calls to mind important contemporary issues. Naturally, any discussion of humankind’s relationship to the natural environment evokes contemporary debates surrounding climate change and the resulting aesthetic modifications of the landscape. Digital consumption, which arguably distances us from a more materialistic experience of nature, is facilitated by massive infrastructure projects which strikingly alter the environment. Also considered is the way in which the culture of disposability and a reliance on petrochemicals leave their mark on our land and oceans.
In face of these threats, the natural landscape still shows a remarkable resiliency, at times asserting its presence in the most surprising ways. Its pushback can sometimes be violent and indifferent to human systems as in the case with natural disasters. Unlike man-made constructions, nature is always morphing and adapting, reminding us of its primordial autonomy. For all of humankind’s efforts to shape their environment, nature is never truly under its control.
Written into Rock Artists:
Hannah Chalew (New Orleans, LA) · Michael Garguilo (Royal Oak, MI) · Phillip Hanson (Saginaw, MI) · Kristina Sheufelt (Detroit, MI) · Brian Spolans (Ypsilanti, MI) · Jessica Tenbusch (Ypsilanti, MI) · Millee Tibbs (Detroit, MI)