“THIS CATALOG DOCUMENTS A TWO-PART EXHIBITION that has sprung from the work of Michael Berman, a current Guggenheim Fellow, who is both esteemed in the contemporary art
world and a longtime activist with several environmental organizations.
Berman’s current series of photographs, titled Grasslands, is about the endangered Chihuahuan Desert grasslands in New Mexico, Texas and the northern border of Mexico, where he has wandered into the desert without a compass to, in his words, “live deliberately.” He believes that how you see the land comes down to what you value. “I believe art has a greater potential for meaning when it serves some purpose. People have started to recognize these lands as significant and this is something art can help along. If anything, my work is to generate small symbols that reveal the greater complexity of things.”
Inspired by his Grasslands series, guest curator Mary Anne Redding has assembled a concurrent exhibition, Separating Species, that includes a remarkable group of artists, all of whom delve into land in diverse ways that illuminate our relationship to our fragile ecosystems, highlighting our interconnectedness with the environment and non-human species. Krista Elrick examines North American birds; Dana Fritz looks at plants and animals in engineered indoor landscape environments; Jo Whaley creates theatrical still life images of insects and humans; and David Taylor’s images of border monuments along the US/Mexico border explore the effect of border control on both humans and animals.
It is a great pleasure for 516 ARTS to host Grasslands /Separating Species, the culminating exhibition in our space for the six-month series of programs for LAND/ART.”
—From the Acknowledgments by Suzanne Sbarge, Executive Director, 516 ARTS
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