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Colleen Hargaden at Hunter Shaw Fine Art
September 12, 2020 - October 25, 2020
Colleen Hargaden’s “Strategies for Inhabiting a Damaged Planet” at Hunter Shaw Fine Art gives us just that. In the first gallery, the artist presents two “capsules” that offer the viewer practical survival skills (growing your own sprouts) and herbal remedies (making your own herbal tinctures and salves). Each capsule is a solar-powered kit that presents a how-to video and includes supplies and a PDF manual. These art objects break down barriers between artwork and utility, offering a more fluid and generous relationship with the viewer.
In the second gallery, the artist has recreated shot-for-shot a film called “H20,” which was made by photographer Ralph Steiner in 1929. Steiner’s original film depicts various states of water — bubbling brooks, dripping rain pipes, raucous ocean waves. For Hargaden’s recreation, she remade each shot within LA County, and scouted locations carefully. For a few shots that the artist was unable to attain due to the changed infrastructure around water over the last 90 years, she simply included a blank screen with a text description of the missing shot.
Taken as a whole, Hargaden’s work offers proposals for understanding, cultivating, and living in harmony with our changing environment. Going further, the artist translates these desires into practical tools for inhabiting a damaged planet, and offers pathways forward that attempt repair.