Paradise Wavering presents 17 new and recent works by Chicago-based photographer Alice Hargrave, including Biosphere, a wall-scale emerald-hued image of a tropical forest printed on fabric. The artist has long been interested in the ways color photography is linked to our memories, and this ongoing series, which began in 2014, includes re-photographed vintage images from her family archive and new ones made during her excursions near and far. Importantly, Paradise Wavering offers an ecologically-based point-of-view. Hargrave says this series is informed by, “the vulnerability of our planet’s biodiversity, the fragility and shrinking of natural habitats, and a desire to express the sublimity and wonder of the organic world.”
Paradise Wavering includes representations of a ruby-tinged lake surface, an indigo view of a mangrove forest, and an aqua image of bird carcasses littering a beach, among others. Hargrave thinks of these photographs as an exploration of the “relics of nature.” There is a renewed urgency to seeing these places, particularly in imaginative ways, as we face threats from climate change. A new work features imaging of the sound waves of the endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow’s calls, accompanied by an audio component made in collaboration with artist Walter Kitundu. Hargrave’s subtle but saturated landscapes remind us that these places are in constant flux, and that the photographs, videos, and memories we make, may be all that we have in the end. Hargrave also offers moments of hope and wonder at nature’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and even to elude us at times. For example, she photographed mangroves because of the trees’ inherent ability to cleanse water, and a chartreuse-tinged patch of mushrooms depicting a new species of chanterelle co-discovered by environmental writer Jill Riddell and colleagues at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.
Hargrave’s exhibition provides an opportunity to discuss ecological issues and learn about resources in our area. University Galleries has partnered with several non-profit organizations to develop public programming in conjunction with this exhibition.
–Saturday, September 16, from 1-4pm: Exhibition tour and workshop presented in conjunction with the Children’s Discovery Museum. Participants (ages 8-12) will meet at the CDM, come to University Galleries for a curator-led tour and scavenger hunt, and return to the CDM for an art-making activity. To sign up for this free program, contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org, (309) 433-3468 ext. 3449, or visit the Museum’s website, www.childrensdiscoverymuseum.net.
–A panel discussion about local conservation efforts will take place at University Galleries on Friday, September 22, at 12pm. Participants include: Catherine O’Reilly, Associate Professor of Geology at Illinois State University, and Krista Kirkham, Assistant Aquatic Ecologist at The Nature Conservancy. O’Reilly, a member of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, shares a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and other scientists.
–Saturday, September 23, from 9am-1pm: In collaboration with ParkLands Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, we will tour the Merwin Nature Preserve and the Franklin Research and Demonstration Farm. The Merwin Preserve, which is located in the Mackinaw Valley watershed, features 19 stations along its hiking trails. At the Franklin Farm in Lexington, Illinois, researchers from The Nature Conservancy and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are “testing a variety of conservation methods, including cover crops, constructed wetlands, and habitat restoration.” For more information, contact Kendra at 309.438.8191 or email@example.com.
All events are free and open to the public. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 309.438.5487 to schedule exhibition tours.
Hargrave’s work has been exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, Minnesota; Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, Oregon; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; and the Chicago Cultural Center. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, and the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her first monograph, Paradise Wavering, was published by Daylight Books in 2016 and includes an interview by Kendra Paitz. Hargrave lives in Chicago, where she teaches at Columbia College and is a member of the all-female Stella Collective.
Alice Hargrave’s exhibition is organized by University Galleries’ Senior Curator Kendra Paitz and is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the Illinois State University Foundation Fund. Programs at University Galleries are sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The artist reception is co-sponsored by Hyatt Place, Bloomington-Normal.
Image: Alice Hargrave, Biosphere, 2017. Direct dye print on silk. 10 x 22.5 feet