January 14 - February 25, 2023
From Box 13:
“This series takes its title from a sentence by brilliant thinker Anna Tsing, writing on resurgence in her book The Mushroom at The End of The World. She writes, “Despite all insults, resurgence has not yet ceased.” Against all odds, life continues to return to sites of upheaval. I wonder, is there a threshold beyond which it cannot?
These cyanotypes feature non-native, introduced, and so-called invasive plant species such as phragmites, queen anne’s lace, purple loosestrife, spotted knapweed, and more. These plants tend to flourish in areas impacted by disturbance, change, extraction, and, even, herbicidal endeavors to “restore” historical ecosystems. We’re encouraged to cultivate belligerence toward these plants, but both plants and humans have always migrated and intermingled in response to changing conditions. Cultural values influence ecology and environmental policy, and I see the notion of “invasive” plants as emblematic of non-objectivity in the way we designate value. As climate change alters ecosystems, their capacity to respond and persist may be worth considering.
I use the cyanotype process, a “cameraless photograph,” to record the forms of plants by placing them on linen coated with a light sensitive solution. Exposed to the sun, the cloth turns blue where it is revealed, and says white where it rests underneath the foliage. This process was pioneered by long-unrecognized botanist and artist Anna Atkins (1799-1871) in her extensive studies of British algae and ferns.
Nicole Sara Simpkins is an artist and educator living and working in Minneapolis. Her work uses printmaking, writing, and drawing to explore entanglements of culture, ecosystems, and personal healing. She makes large-scale sculptural drawing installations, prints, artist books and performances. She holds an MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University – Bloomington and a BA in English and Creative Writing from Macalester College. She teaches courses in Drawing and Printmaking, is a recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and has attended residencies at Millay Arts, The Ucross Foundation, The Vermont Studio Center, The Jentel Foundation, Artspace Raleigh, The Future, and The White Page. She has exhibited work locally and nationally. She is a 2022 Mcknight Printmaking Fellow.”
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