The Mountain and the Bumblebee

Contemporary artists and poets confronting broadly defined notions of landscape as both cultural icon and raw material, curated by Chris McGinnis.

Curator’s Talk: Chris McGinnis, Friday March 25 at 10 a.m. in the Atrium at PCA&D
Geological Talk “Chiques Rock and the Bumblebee” by Jeff Howe, Friday, April 1 at 10 am, Atrium
First Friday Reception, Friday, April 1, 5 – 8 pm, Gallery
Landscape Poetry Reading hosted by Linda Brown, Friday, April 1 at 7 pm, Atrium

In 1842 the geologist and land surveyor John C Fremont led a prestigious expedition to explore the Rocky Mountain territory. In his travel log Fremont records an unlikely high‐altitude encounter with a bumblebee where he imagines each of them to be the first of their species ever to brave such geological extremes. This unlikely encounter is suggestive of America’s unique brand of landscape nationalism that has historically attempted to reconcile both expansionist and conservationist thought. Romantic descriptions of Fremont’s adventures were published in the Emigrant’s Guide to California and effectively united the interests of science and nature within the cultural framework of national inheritance. After all, “landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock.” *

“The Mountain and the Bumble Bee brings together selected works by contemporary artists and poets who confront broadly defined notions of landscape as both cultural icon and raw material. Working in a variety of media including photography, sculpture, painting, digital media and poetic verse, featured artists maneuver the complex web of references contributing to our understanding of landscape. Scenes from Hollywood westerns abut survey photographs and miniature paintings to highlight America’s often‐contradictory role as both steward and exploiter of the land.”     —Chris McGinnis

* Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (New York: Alfred A. Knopf), 61