As a native of Scotland, Dana Hargrove was reared in a culture that places great significance in its landscape. As such, it is not surprising that she pays keen attention to the landscapes she occupies and passes through, as well as to the ways in which society conceptualizes them. Transcapes aptly describes the work in this exhibition – it embraces both the representation of the landscape itself and our engagement with it. Work in this exhibition is open to simultaneous multiple, even conflicting, interpretation. Does it refer to war and/or recreation? Is its meaning benign and/or malevolent? Are the forms natural and/or constructed? Does it represent a macrocosm and/or microcosm? Hargrove’s paintings and mixed media work create a slippery environment of shifting boundaries and content that rewards the careful viewer willing to explore its inherent multiplicity.
As a widely traveled individual not currently living in her native country Hargrove’s work reveals her role as observer, of being in the privileged position of seeing the world in a fresh way. In this manner she exists in a metascape, the in-between world where unexpected connections can be made. Such emphasis on travel (and by implication, movement) implies the presence of the body, which although largely absent in her work, its impact is felt everywhere. Much of Hargove’s work investigates systems that she breaks down into modular units; as fragmented pieces they reflect the ways in which we often experience our world as we absorb information while we catapult through the air, hurl along highways, navigate cavernous cyberspace, and mediate media. We often only have time to catch snippets of the landscape or datascape around us and it is precisely these fragments that Hargrove gives painstaking attention.
Kelly Wacker, 2006
Kelly Wacker is an Associate Professor of Art and the Gallery Director at the University of Montevallo in Alabama.