Art & Interpretation
We spend our lives dwarfed by human landscapes: skyscrapers, circling freeways, bridges, poles, paved streets and rail lines; human created sounds; artificial lights.
What happens when the situation is reversed, when we are surrounded not by the products of human technology, but by natural landscapes: wide floodplains, fast flowing rivers, dry, rocky canyons, massive mesas, the songs of birds, the swoosh of wind, a relentless sun?
Rio Mesa Center welcomes artists in all disciplines. We especially encourage collaborative projects that rigorously engage interdisciplinary queries into the science and spirit of the Colorado Plateau.
Kathryn Stedham- Rio Mesa Center's first artist-in-residence.
My current work over the past couple of years has explored relationships between earth and water. My paintings incorporate a system of drips scraping and incising, not unlike the process of erosion and building up occurring naturally in the landscapes around us. Website
I am a printmaker. My work explore spaces and map-making in the physical and spiritual landscapes that we inhabit. While I am creating layers of information that add to the feeling of depth and substance, I am also intrigued with the effects of dematerialization on form. I am trying to capture the essence, or spiritual qualityof things that appears when forms are stripped back to the most basic elements. Website
My time spent at Rio Mesa will be focused on going out into the land to explore and grow from within the land, not to conquer, but to pass through it with silence and grace, taking in its language and form through drawings and photography, video and audio diaries. Specifically, I will create a series of nighttime audio recordings; drawings of land, plants, rocks and animals and photographs of residual markings of people, storms and other weather related phenomena. This research will be compiled, developed and edited with the intent to be shown within an academic, gallery or domestic space. Website
Jennifer Buchi: Early Center Inhabitants, Creative Writing& Bookmaking (2010)
My artists’ book explored the ideas of shape and suspension at Rio Mesa Center. The history and archeology of the ranch give me a sense that though the place itself fluctuates—through drought and flood, through occupation and absence, through seasons—the experience of people living there remains constant, suspended both in time and location. At Rio Mesa, the constraints make the man: every inhabitant faces the same challenges of finding food, making a living, surviving isolation. Along the wall of the canyon at the head of the ranch, there is a pictograph of a man, mouth open, tongue protruding, single eye wide from awe or panic and a yoke, or a noose, around his neck. Though the image is fading fast with the erosion of its underlying sandstone, the idea remains of a man suspended above the canyon floor, watching through time as the landscape shifts beneath him, as people come and go. It is his strained stillness that I tried to access and recreate through the book.