The Maryland Institute College of Art presents
January 19, 2018–February 22, 2018
Maryland Institute College of Art
1303 W. Mount Royal Ave
Baltimore, MD 21217
Margaret Boozer/Raina Märtens + UnInc.
Land/Trust focuses on contemporary relationships to the land and the ways in which artists are navigating and negotiating their roles during an era of ecological crisis and changing landscape. In forging intimate relationships with the land, the six local, national, and international artists included illuminate systematically neglected spaces, question imposed political and social boundaries, and facilitate conversations on issues of land ownership and possession. Participating artists respond to the land from a variety of viewpoints: as community advocates, as caretakers, as researchers, as activists.
Mary Mattingly (b. 1978 Rockville, CT) creates photographs, sculptures, videos, performances, and living ecological systems that reflect on survival and endurance within futuristic, obscure, and environmentally-ravaged landscapes. Mattingly’s Blockade series consists of bound collections of objects representing the leftovers of global economies. This new work in the series combines Mattingly’s personal belongings with collected objects from Baltimore. The objects and the ropes that hold them together are inextricably intertwined, highlighting the life cycle of objects, from their production to distribution, and ultimately their disposal and replacement. The accompanying mindmap displays Mattingly’s studio research surrounding systems of manufacturing, waste management, and toxic emissions.
Demian DinéYazhi´ (b. 1983 Gallup, NM) is a Portland-based Diné transdisciplinary artist born to the clans Naasht’ézhí Tábąąhá (Zuni Clan Water’s Edge) & Tódích’íí’nii (Bitter Water). Intermittently throughout the gallery are excerpts from DinéYazhi´'s work-in-progress ekphrastic poem, An Infected Sunset. This long-form descriptive prose poem is a reflection on queer sex, survival and death politics, indigenous identity and environmental injustice, and honoring the intersections of community and evolving theoretical poesis. Also on view in the front window of the gallery is one of many posters that DinéYazhi’ has produced and distributed freely online, aiming to address issues of land ownership in relation to histories of trauma of American colonialism. Responding to constant negotiations of indigenous land, Demian restructures traditional power dynamics, allowing viewers to become owners of his work, on his own terms.
Glenn Ross (b. 1949 Baltimore, MD) is an activist and urban environmentalist from East Baltimore who has been conducting Toxic Tours in order to teach residents about the environmental hazards of Baltimore for over a decade. The footage shown documents a Toxic Tour by Ross conducted on November 21, 2017. Sites visited include the city dump, multiple vacant manufacturing plants, a recycling plant and the uncovered, toxic piles of asphalt and glass that surround it, and an $800 million urban redevelopment effort in East Baltimore. Ross conducted Toxic Tours, open to the public throughout the run of Land/Trust.
Glenn Ross has worked closely with many of the artists included in this exhibition to share his knowledge of Baltimore’s history. Displayed here is just a small sampling of Ross’s archive of research, press, documentation, and other artifacts, visualizing his years of activism in the city. Included in this archive, which references the interior of Ross’s home, are certificates of appreciation awarded to Ross for his role as a community consultant and urban environmental activist, maps of Ross’s surrounding McElderberry Park neighborhood, various mayoral campaigns for a cleaner Baltimore, and personal photographs and memorabilia. Viewers are invited to take down the clipboards and spend time with the included photocopied interviews and articles.
Soil Lab is a project of Boozer/Martens + UnInc. to support the work of environmental activist Glenn Ross and his Toxic Tours of East Baltimore. This experiment functions at the intersection of art and science, exploring the role of research in artistic practice as well as uncovering local histories of urban neglect and environmental racism. This workstation will produce sets of Toxic Tour Beer Coasters, composed of materials collected at each of Ross’s Toxic Tour sites. Soil Lab inspires community engagement by training volunteers in collecting site samples of clay, soil, and detritus to use as materials in creating beer coasters. The coasters are tangible objects that connect purchasers and participants to Ross’s work at the most basic level: the ground. Funds from sales of the coasters go to Ross’s education and outreach efforts.
UnInc. is a subsidiary of Red Dirt Studio, comprising a variable collective of creative professionals, including possibly you, to develop strategies for cooperative futures through reuse and recycling.
Maren Hassinger (b. 1947 Los Angeles, CA) explores changes in nature in relationship to people through installation, video, and sculpture. First installed in 1986, Blanket of Branches is composed of a complex network of branches suspended from the gallery ceiling. The branches, an inherently ephemeral material, have been collected from the surrounding Baltimore landscape and meticulously assembled on site in order to create a weightless canopy existing at the intersection of nature and artifice. Nature, Hassinger reflects, is a delicate and interconnected web.
Nadia Myre (b. 1974 Montreal, QC) employs collaborative processes as a strategy for engaging in conversations about indigenous cultural heritage, resilience, and the politics of being. In her video Rethinking Anthem, Myre contemplates the significance and meaning of the opening lines of O Canada, the Canadinational anthem of Canada. In two separate actions presented simultaneously due to editing and use of a locked-off shot, Myre erases the stenciled words “HOME AND” while she unearths “NATIVE LAND.” Through these actions, Myre meditates on the colonial history of her country and the dispossession of native land. Thus, the expression “native land” is not written, but revealed, like a distant memory coming back to the surface.
About Curatorial Practice
The first MFA of its kind in the country, MICA’s MFA in Curatorial Practice prepares students to expand the role of curators in connecting art, artists, and communities—engaging audiences more effectively by developing relevant, timely, and accessible exhibitions in both traditional and non-traditional venues.
Jingyao (Joan) Cen, Jared Christensen, Rhonda Dallas, Maria Emilia Duno, Margo Elsayd, Joshua Gamma, Tracey Jen, Minzi Li, Allie Linn, Joseph Orzal, and Jiayi Zhong