Deborah Colton Gallery, a participating space in the FOTOFEST 2014 Biennale, is pleased to present Remote Sensing: Micro-landscapes and Untold Stories, an exhibition of artworks from the accomplished visual artist and theorist Suzanne Anker. This exhibition opened on Friday, March 14th with a public reception from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
From microscopic imagery to video animations, from time-lapse photography to rapid prototyped sculpture, Remote Sensing, is an ode to nature’s delicacy and decay. While high technology tools extend our vision to access sites yet unknown, at the same time such intrusions can be dire. Remote Sensing: Micro-Landscapes and Untold Stories brings together underwater motifs of animals that look like flowers, “vanitas” in Petrie dishes inspired by art history, porcelain sponge sculptures that appear as coral or meteorites, and high tech 3-D extruded sculptures which reference tiny wondrous landscapes.
Continuing to work at the nexus of art and the biological sciences, this exhibition brings into focus visions of a “future/natural” in which life’s ebb and flow, always in flux, combine with its synthetic other. In Anker’s work nothing is what it appears to be, yet visual representations abound. Although there are many references to the “still life” as a genre in visual art, the moving images address the fact that life is not still.
Working with images garnered from marine research centers such as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and MOTE Marine Laboratory, on Summerland Key in Florida, the viewer becomes aware of the intricacies of nature and the need to preserve it. Other images are derived from the Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico’s research facility in which samples are collected in the wild and housed in drawers and cabinets for further study. Not intended to be a scientific study of nature as data, these images and objects talk at once to a scientific imaginary fused with cultural necessity. How we perceive the natural world is tantamount to discovery. How we re-imagine the living world as an interconnected network fuses what was once science fiction to the real.
Suzanne Anker is a visual artist and theorist working at the intersection of art and the biological sciences. She works in a variety of mediums ranging from digital sculpture and installation to large-scale photography and projected video, to plants grown by the light of LEDs. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally in museums and galleries including the first International Biennial in Cartagena, Columbia, the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Phillips Collection, P.S.1 Museum, the JP Getty Museum, the Mediznhistorisches Museum der Charite in Berlin, the Center for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin, the Pera Museum in Istanbul and the Museum of Modern Art in Japan.
Anker is also presently the Chair of the Fine Arts Department of the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where she initiated and introduced the Nature and Technology Lab, where students have the opportunity to engage with nature and art making simultaneously through multidisciplinary exploration known today as Bio Art. Anker lectures widely around the world, including several Max-Planck Institutes, Universities of Leiden and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, Banff Art Center in Canada, Yale University, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City any most recently at Harvard University.
In Anker’s role as an educator she has been successful in publishing and contributing to many academic volumes which express an emphasis on the incorporation of scientific and technological influence to explore the ways in which our social, ethical, and cultural values are shaped. Publications of Anker’s include, among many, The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age, co-authored with the late sociologist Dorothy Nelkin, published in 2004 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Visual Culture and Bioscience, co-published by University of Maryland and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Her writings have appeared in Art and America, Seed. Nature Reviews Genetics, Art Journal, Tema Celeste and M/E/A/N/I/N/G. Her work has been the subject of reviews and articles in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Flash Art, and Nature. She has been a speaker at Harvard University, the Royal Society in London, Cambridge University, Yale University, the London School of Economics, the Max-Planck Institute, University of Leiden, the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, Banff Art Center and many others. Chairing SVA’s Fine Arts Department in NYC since 2005, Ms. Anker continues to interweave traditional and experimental media in her department’s new digital initiative.