Feb. 14 - March 31, 2012
School of Art
Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Location: Northlight Gallery
Opening reception: Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. with special guest Keith Secola
Curator: Liz Allen
Manifest Destiny as a turn-of-the-20th-century concept shaped the American West by structuring a relationship to the land, its resources and indigenous cultures dominated by conquest and assimilation of a Euro-American centered view of progress. On the 100th anniversary of Arizona’s statehood, the Manifest Destiny exhibition features artists living in the West whose work acknowledges the complexity of our past viewed through a contemporary perspective that recognizes the value of cultural and biological diversity and the intricate web through which all of it is connected.
Manifest Destiny includes the photogravures of Edward S. Curtis, which serve as a touchstone for the concept of Manifest Destiny to which these contemporary artists respond, directly and indirectly. Curtis’s North American Indian series, published from 1907 to 1930, romantically depicted Indians as a vanishing race, mythologizing them rather than portraying them as active members of a developing United States, and supported the popular view that Manifest Destiny had successfully expanded to the far reaches of the frontier.
In the series Cartography and the Cultural Terrain, Deborah Ford creates beautiful images that combine photographic landscapes with maps, artifacts and text to “examine the impetus for westward expansion, colonialism and the search for natural resources.”
Nicholas Galanin’s works titled Curtis’s Legacy respond to an idealization of the “Indian” that Curtis depicted in his North American Indian series. Galanin’s works directly engage the viewer in the objectification of their subject.
Emmet Gowin’s images from the series Nevada Test Sites document the evidence of the detonation of nuclear bombs by the US government. Published in his book Changing the Earth, these visually stunning images beg us to remember the consequences of our choices even as we find pleasure in the abstract patterns of their destruction.
The Western Waters series by Sant Khalsa documents the increasing number of water stores in the West and recognizes “… the absurdity of these stores, and the way they seek to represent the source of a natural experience…with names, such as ‘Pure Water.’”
In their image 100 Sunsets, ASU School of Art Regents' Professor of Photography Mark Klett and photo artist Byron Wolfe composited 100 images of sunsets at the rim of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona gleaned from the photo-sharing website, Flickr. This photographic montage underscores the instrumental role that visual representation played in defining the Grand Canyon as a scenic wonder.
Photographer Patrick Nagatani, who was born to Japanese-American parents just days after the Enola Gay bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, crafts images that resonate with the consequences of that cataclysmic event.
Angela Franks Wells creates photogravures by etching plates made of copper. Her series of Arizona copper mines recognizes the complex relationship between the necessity of natural resources and the environmental damage created by current mining practices.
Images from Auto Immune Response by Will Wilson depict his intention with a thoughtful gravity. He says, “Throughout my work I have focused on photographing Navajo People and our relationship to the land. While portraying this relationship I have always been aware of how our representation has never been without consequence.”
In Manifest Destiny these artists skillfully address the complex land use challenge presented by balancing conservation of natural resources, preservation of wild spaces and delicate biologically diverse areas with the needs of industry and recreation. As Arizona looks to the next 100 years its residents have the benefit of a contemporary awareness that recognizes the richness of its cultural heritage and the complexity of our relationship to each other and the land.
Manifest Destiny: A Conversation features presentations by Nicholas Galanin, Sant Khalsa and Mark Klett on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. This artist talk will be held in Recital Hall E510 in the Music Building and is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the visitor parking lot on the southeast corner of Mill and University avenues.. Manifest Destiny is part of PHOTOtapas held from Feb. 14 –19 at Northlight Gallery, Art Intersection in Gilbert and Tilt Gallery in Phoenix. PHOTOtapas, a fine art photography event, celebrates the medium's past, present, and future by offering the community a sampling of photo-related activities including exhibitions, lectures, seminars, demonstrations and portfolio sharing. Sponsored by Art Intersection, Jeremy Rowe Vintage Photography, Northlight Gallery at Arizona State University and Tilt Gallery. For more information see artintersection.com/phototapas.html.
Hours: Tuesday: 12:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday: 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Closed: Sunday, Monday and major holidays & summer semester