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Wed, Nov 30, 2022
New works by Meditation Ocean Constellation, Sa’dia Rehman, A.K. Burns, and Anna Tsouhlarakis to be on view
For winter and spring 2023, the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University will present a dynamic and engaging suite of exhibitions generated by artists with shared beliefs in activism, art as a tool for empowerment, and the social and metaphorical power of land and water. Each exhibition features never-before-seen works commissioned by the center or supported by a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award.
As the Wexner Center galleries will need to close for part of summer 2023 for planned maintenance, the exhibitions will be on view from February 11 to July 9, 2023.
M.O. Turtlegrass Meadow, 2023 (still). Six-channel video installation with sound. Image courtesy of Hope Ginsburg.
Meditation Ocean works for climate justice through underwater meditations and terrestrial actions that prompt us to consider the interdependence of human and environmental healing. The project is conceived and directed by artist Hope Ginsburg (she/her) and made by the Meditation Ocean Constellation, which comprises artists, writers, educators, meditators, musicians, curators, divers, and scientists.
At the center of the exhibition is M.O. Turtlegrass Meadow (2023), a large-screen, six-channel video installation that creates an immersive ocean environment, inviting contemplation and curiosity.
Shot over four days in Biscayne National Park in the Florida Keys, the work captures eight meditating scuba divers as they “breathe with” ocean wildlife, rising from the seabed to float in meditation. Ten prerecorded, commissioned scripts offer audiences the chance to join the divers in meditative practice within the installation.
This exhibition is the culmination of Ginsburg’s two-year Artist Residency Award and her decades-long relationship with the Wex, including multiple residencies in the Film/Video Studio.
Meditation Ocean is curated by Film/Video Studio Curator Jennifer Lange. A series of related programs, workshops, and events at the center are being developed collaboratively with the Department of Learning & Public Practice and will include the meditation series Breathe, which will also stream online. A gallery guide will include a preface by Lange and texts by Melody Jue and Anaïs Duplan.
There isn’t a stone I don’t remember, 2022 (still). Two-channel video installation. Image courtesy of the artist and their family.
Sa’dia Rehman (they/them), a two-year Wexner Center Artist Residency Award recipient, will share a new body of work exploring memory, grief, and migration, as well as the multiple histories and geographies that can be triggered by a single event.
The displacement of Rehman’s family in 1974 from their village in Pakistan by the building of the Tarbela Dam on the Indus River serves as a beginning for their project. A poem by Rehman’s sister, Bushra, provides the exhibition’s title.
Beyond their family history, Rehman looks toward global history of land and water, and narratives of passages and home, conducting expansive archival research and dialogues with relatives, community members, scientists, and environmentalists.
For Rehman, the Wex’s unique, wedge-shaped gallery space acts as a vessel for a selection of drawings, sculptures, textiles, works on paper, and video generated from their research, a project that evokes archiving, as well as a sense of being suspended between homeland and migration.
The river runs slow is curated by Director of Learning & Public Practice Dionne Custer Edwards. A gallery guide will include a text by Custer Edwards and a dialogue in text between Rehman and curator, writer, and educator Regine Basha.
A.K. Burns, What is Perverse is Liquid, 2022 (still). Video. Image courtesy of the artist.
Spanning more than a decade of A.K. Burns’s (she/her) practice, Of space we are… marks the artist’s largest solo exhibition to date. This expansive exhibition furthers Burns’s considerations of the intersection between humanity and nature, specifically the relationship of marginalized bodies to resources, place, and technology.
The centerpiece is the quasi-science-fiction epic Negative Space, a nonlinear and layered narrative composed of four multichannel video installations (2015–23). Set in a speculative present, each work features a community of artists, choreographers, and musicians and a soundtrack by Geo Wyeth.
Viewers will for the first time be able to experience the complete Negative Space tetralogy: A Smeary Spot (2015), examining the psychological effects of power; Living Room (2017), exploring the dueling ideas of the body as a source of agency and a resource to be exploited; Leave No Trace (2019), considering the demarcation of space and its effect on bodies; and a new, Wex-commissioned finale, What Is Perverse Is Liquid (2023), focusing on the control and scarcity of water.
Related works created for Negative Space will also be on view, along with sculptures and wall works produced by Burns over the last decade. A forthcoming catalogue, Negative Space, copublished by the Wex and Dancing Foxes Press, features an interview with Burns and curator Karen Archey and contributions by Mel Y. Chen, CAConrad, Megan Hicks, Aruna D’Souza, and Simone White.
Of space we are... is curated by Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions Kelly Kivland and Curatorial Intern Cole J. Graham.
Anna Tsouhlarakis, The Native Guide Project, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist.
An artist of Navajo, Creek, and Greek descent, Anna Tsouhlarakis (she/her) reframes the discourse around Native American identity. For this exhibition, she trains her eye on the forced migration of Indigenous peoples—including in the Central Ohio area.
A new, multilayered commission, The Native Guide Project: Columbus builds on Tsouhlarakis’s The Native Guide Project (2019–present), which deploys phrases that are variously poignant and pithy, such as “I LIKE HOW YOU SEE NATIVE AMERICANS AS YOUR INTELLECTUAL EQUAL.” It will engage the Wex’s interior and exterior spaces, as well as sites around Columbus through a partnership with Orange Barrel Media.
The Native Guide Project: Columbus continues the artist’s earlier text-based works such as Edges of the Ephemeral (2012) and In Other Words: A Native Primer (2013)—in which she worked closely with members of Native American communities about their beliefs and experiences.
In January and February 2023, The Box, the center’s dedicated video gallery, will present Tsouhlarakis’ Breath of Wind (2017), a short video work highlighting the deadly effects of the 1979 Church Rock, New Mexico, uranium disaster. The largest radioactive spill in US history, the disaster poisoned the water, soil, and air of the Navajo Nation with uranium waste, causing ramifications that remain evident today.
Anna Tsouhlarakis: The Native Guide Project: Columbus is curated by Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions Kelly Kivland with Curatorial Intern Bethani Blake. Tsouhlarakis’s Breath of Wind is curated by Film/Video Studio Curator Jennifer Lange.
Numerous events are scheduled through the run of the exhibitions, including a Winter Exhibitions Preview on Friday, February 10, from 4 to 10 PM. An attached document below has more information and additional events will be announced closer to the opening.
The exhibition season is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, Cardinal Health, Karen Sloane-Lane, and Nancy and Dave Gill.
Meditation Ocean is made possible by OSU Women & Philanthropy.
Exhibitions are made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Mike and Paige Crane.
Free galleries are made possible by American Electric Power Foundation, Adam Flatto, Mary and C. Robert Kidder, and Bill and Sheila Lambert.
Additional support for free galleries is provided by CoverMyMeds and PNC Foundation.