Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents A Field Guide to Getting Lost, featuring video work by alumni Jenna Maurice and John Whitten, at its downtown gallery WAG during the August 2 edition of the First Saturday Art Crawl.
Taken from the title of the 2006 book by Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost is a video-based exhibition about Maurice and Whitten’s relationships with nature, the unknown, and their search for the unfamiliar. These artists champion being lost. It is a goal for which they strive. Their research happens deep in secluded areas where isolation and solitude are desirable characteristics. Having relocated from Nashville to geographic regions offering some of the United States’ most diverse landscapes (Maurice to Colorado and Whitten to Oregon), their work deals with the subtleties of communication amid isolation, and their interpretation of the natural world. Fueled by a desire to discover a deeper level of connectedness to their environment, the two artists employ a range of tactics from subtle, poetic gestures of mimicry to spectacular displays of signals designed to attract help. In this work, both artists question their sense of place in the natural world, what it means to make one’s way through life, and what it means to be a lost soul.
Jenna Maurice (JennaMaurice.com) is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Denver, CO. Relationships, relational dynamics, communication and problems with language are the things she questions, ponders and experiments with in her work. She is interested in the human experience of empathetic response, as well as the subtleties of the body as a tool for non-verbal communication.
She received a BFA in Photography from Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, and an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her current studio practice centers around dabbling in whatever makes sense for solving the problems she wants to address. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Boulder, Deluge Contemporary in Victoria, Canada, and the Contemporary LivingGallery in Lecce, Italy.
Jenna Maurice: three images from the 2013 series “Concerning the Landscape: A Study in Relationships”
John Whitten (JohnWhitten.com) excavates the meditative and philosophical implications of what it means to wander. The question of what it means to be a lost soul frames his practice as he searches for the unfamiliar. Driven by a passion for the outdoors and our cultural fascination with survivalism, his drawings and videos investigate what it means to make one’s way through life.
Whitten grew up in rural Indiana surrounded by corn, animals, and a fundamentalist belief system. He majored in studio arts as an undergraduate, receiving his AS from Vincennes University in Vincennes, IN, and BFA in Fine Art from Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. He went on to receive his MFA from the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Whitten’s work has been screened/exhibited nationally in galleries, museums and raw exhibition spaces. His work has been included in exhibitions at Disjecta in Portland, OR; the University of Oregon’s Laverne Krause Gallery; Clatsop Community College in Astoria, OR; and in Nashville at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Rymer Gallery, Zeitgeist Gallery and Belmont University’s Leu Art Gallery. He spends his time in the South, Midwest and Pacific Northwest.
WAG–an acronym for Watkins Arcade Gallery–is located in suite 77 upstairs in the historic Arcade and is open the first Saturday evening of the month during each Art Crawl (from 6-9 p.m.), and by appointment.
WAG joins approximately 20 participating Art Crawl galleries along Fifth Avenue of the Arts and upstairs in the Historic Arcade. Admission is free, and the Nashville Downtown Partnership provides two free shuttles traveling among the venues. For more information on the First Saturday Art Crawl, visit nashvilledowntown.com/play/first-saturday-art-crawl.
The Watkins Arcade Gallery–WAG–is a public exhibition space of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film committed to serving the College community and the community at large through exhibitions and programs that enhance curriculum as well as engage a greater audience in the visual arts. WAG is dedicated to supporting the educational and cultural mission of the College by encouraging students to think independently and creatively about their art practice and role as critical thinkers within the cultural landscape. The venue will present shows year-round featuring work by Watkins students, alumni and other professional artists. For inquiries, contact WAG@watkins.edu. WAG is the second Watkins-run gallery space, joining the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery,the primary exhibiting space on the College’s campus in Metro Center.
About Rebecca Solnit
Writer, historian and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of 15 books, as well as numerous essays in numerous museum catalogs and anthologies, about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, the power of stories and hope. A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Penguin, 2006) is an investigation into loss, losing and being lost. Taking in subjects as eclectic as memory and mapmaking, Hitchcock movies and Renaissance painting, Solnit combines memoir, history and philosophy to explore the challenges of living with uncertainty while shedding glittering new light on the way we live now.