Curator: Dr. Maurice Berger, Senior Research Scholar, CADVC
Organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, UMBC
This exhibition centers on a cycle of photographs by New York artist Dana Hoey—
Experiments in Primitive Living. The series represents the successive phases of an unnamed, imaginary ecological disaster through vivid, disquieting images. Experimentsfive sections—Ash, Freeze, Thaw, Drought, and Flood—do not tell a coherent story. Rather, they depict a range of phenomena and situations, from extremely close-up details to nearly panoramic landscapes that relate to each other obliquely or tangentially. Their stylistic diversity—appropriating as they do the look of commercial product shots, film stills, or scientific, documentary, or portrait photographs—enhances the project’s mood of ambiguity and dislocation.
The imagery of Experiments alternates between dispassionate, keenly observed depictions of the physical effects of environmental catastrophe and the human reaction to these events—bodies scarred by trauma, rendered speechless by fear, and driven by the will to survive. It represents a world scorched, frozen, or flooded almost beyond livability, a post-apocalyptic landscape where basic, life-giving resources are either unavailable or scarce.
Experiments in Primitive Living illuminates our fragility and vulnerability in a world changed by recent events—from perils of global warming to the global economic meltdown. Works from two other projects—Profane Waste and One Pro, Two Amateurs—complete the installation and offer insight into the feminist and environmental themes that inform Hoey’s work.
CADVC Outreach Exhibit: EXPOSURE: Experiments in Photography