Prairie Constructs: New Work by Regan Golden
Thursday, June 14th, 6-9pm
June 14 – July 21, 2018
Regan Golden’s Prairie Constructs are an ongoing series of more than 140 images cataloging the life and death of plants from the edgelands of Minneapolis. Edgelands act like scrims rendering other spaces invisible, yet the edgelands are absent from most city maps. This wavering visibility seeps into Golden’s photographs and drawings: the soft villous hairs on the unfurling fern fronds are partially obscured by a puddle of green paint. Edgelands are considered one of the last refuges of wildness. Her images are as much about making visible this overlooked landscape as they are about documenting the passage of time.
Made entirely on the scanner bed, Prairie Constructs are a digital version of a photogram or botanical solar print. The images are shown as both large-scale digital color prints and as an artist book or compendium, showing the evolution in the landscape over the course of a year. For Golden what started as a way of collecting bits and pieces of plants as the seasons change has turned into a methodical and sometimes frenetic project of gathering and experimenting with each plant. She often uncovers synthetic materials, plastic bags mostly, as she collects plants, these are also included in the images.
Light is an important ingredient in the transformation of her materials and in the elevation of these spaces. She works with light when photographing the landscape, making the scans and installing the images. In traditional landscape painting, light can be interpreted as lumen, observed light, or lux, divine light or the light of reason. Regan prefers to think about light in terms of Martin Heidegger’s description of lichtung, which translates as “light in a forest clearing”; He argues that openness must precede lumen and lux, observation and judgment. It is this sense of wonder and awareness about the persistence of urban nature that she wants to pass on to viewers through her images.
Regan Golden has exhibited in solo and group shows both nationally and internationally, including Harvard University’s Fisher Forestry Museum, The Cue Foundation in New York City and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. Recent exhibitions include Residuals at the Architecture Library of the University of Minnesota and Unearth at the Painting Center in New York City. Golden has received numerous grants and fellowships including The Core Program Fellowship in Critical Studies at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship, The Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and a Long-term Ecological Research Grant in the Arts from The National Science Foundation. Golden is currently Visiting Faculty in Painting and Drawing at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, as well as an Art Critic for mnartist.org and other national publications.