Fissure takes as its point of departure the moment of the Trinity nuclear bomb test in the Jornada del Muerto desert in southern New Mexico on July 16, 1945 at 05:29; is an exploration, through sculptural means, its impact on landscape, thought and memory.

Fissure, as a conceptual theme, is a series of artworks that examines clefts in the landscape, fragments of memory, discontinuities in space and time, gaps in historical accounts, lags in communication, breaks in social/cultural fabric, the splitting of atoms, the multiplication of malignant cells.

Underlying all of these ideas is a concern about the kind of trauma that befalls bodies, minds, places and groups when we regard the elemental world as other; when we unleash technologies (of all kinds) that take on lives of their own; and when an intention to secure an outcome actually creates the shadow that it is meant to avoid.

Fissure resonates with the State of the Rockies Project themes as it deals primarily with the human impact on the southwestern landscape, it resonates with the goals of the State of the Rockies  Rockies Rapid Response Research Grants ideals.

by Scott Johnson, Associate Professor of Art, Colorado College


Shifting Grounds

by Jessica Hunter-Larsen

This exhibition is an invitation to hold multiple perspectives simultaneously; a provocation to engage your intellectual, embodied, and emotional intelligences. Surrendering completely to this trinity of impulses as you move through the exhibition reveals interconnected networks of systems: patterns of fissures and joinings, of eruptions and reconciliations, of chaos and order.

Here, in the space between the disciplined understandings of the mind and the innate knowledges of the body, perceptions shift and fragment and re-combine anew. Thoughts and feelings collide, producing unexpected chain reactions. Here, in the contained and infinite spaces between memory and presence, you may rediscover a sensory intelligence that resides only in the still places.

Sometimes perspectives shift in an instant. Light becomes dark, the beautiful becomes horrific, tragedy becomes noble. The familiar becomes uncanny as we abandon our predatory stereoscopic vision and experience the world through the eyes of prey. A horizon line recoils upon itself, immersing us in the labyrinth.
An endless mirror-landscapes splits suddenly fracturing the horizon, and the stability of our locality is displaced and deferred. The multiple reflective planes of a polygonal sculpture-gadget – Durer’s emblem of unbridled rationality made manifest – continually interrupt and intersect each other until time and perception become indistinguishable from each other. Where might we find ourselves within this recursive mirror? Peering through a portal upends the world – balance is as precarious as it is precious. These reflections and refractions, inversions and displacements, inconvenience the tyranny of the ego that insists on exerting mastery over perception.

Sometimes perspectives evolve at glacial pace: slowly the landscape of our beliefs erodes and cracks, mends and reforms – all beneath the threshold of our perception. And we wake up one morning and everything is different. What was once clear is opaque, what seemed certain is contingent. And we find ourselves more open, wounded to the world, but more present to its gifts all the same.

Read Scott’s art review in Santa Fe, New Mexico’s Pasatiempo