Lanny DeVuono is an artist currently living in California who had a three-month residency in 2019 at the Sitka Center where her attention was drawn to the estuaries, the specific places where water meets land. It is there that she started the series Searching for Water on Mars. To learn more about her experience as a resident at Sitka, visit her 200 Year Reflections Project journal entry, click here.
DeVuono has taught at colleges and universities in Colorado,Washington, New York, New Jersey as well as Thailand and India. Awards for her work include a Fulbright Fellowship, anArtist Trust Fellowship, a GAP Grant, and national and international artist residencies. She also writes on contemporary art under the name Frances DeVuono.
Lanny shares these words:
As I write this from a small, quarantined garage -turned –studio, we’re facing a pandemic while at the same time our long standing traditions of unequal justice, a penchant for private health insurance, and our inability to care for our water, land and people are laid bare. So, in addition to the usual challenges of studio work, I, like everyone, am grappling with the moment.
I used to tell my students that artists are the culture’s library. By that, I meant that art practice demands a kind of knowledge that is peculiarly wide, whether it draws from mathematics or myths, the environment or history, social conditions or more. Think Clark Richart, Kiki Smith, Mel Chin, JeffreyGibson, Wangechi Mutu, Rick Lowe, Kara Walker. Whatever its form, art stems from cultures and is filtered by those who make it.
For the past seven years, I’ve been working on ideas around space travel as a colonial desire, a distraction and metaphor for our human yearning to control. In many ways, space exploration is circumventing our responsibility to care for the planet on which we live.
While I look at NASA photos, my imagery deliberately comes from surrounding nature. Like 20th century sci-fi filmmakers, or 17th century colonial propagandists, I create imagery informed by what I already know. Having lived in the southwest and spent time in the Sahara, desert imagery dominated my imaginary views of outer space for years. But now, in California, with Searching for Water on Mars, my attention has turned towards where water meets land.
While concepts area basis for my work, my process is closer to a search. There are side roads that lead nowhere; there are unexpected surprises. Art always seems to be a collaboration between intention and process, technique and trial-by-error. So I do and re-do until they meld.
To learn more:
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