Featuring M Acuff, Renee Couture, and Carolyn Hopkins
As residents of the Pacific Northwest’s more rural reaches, Hopkins, Couture and Acuff have built lives in which the land and its fragilities are experienced directly. Fleeing forest fire, caring for animals who cannot escape smoke-filled air, losing barns to wind, and picking up debris after flood waters subside have become near annual routines. Negotiating anthropocentric climate change and its resulting catastrophes is simply the new daily normal. Our love of remote and natural places must be reconciled with the bewilderment we feel at our own entanglement in the systems, economies and histories that have initiated, and perpetuate, this ongoing war against the earth.
Collectively, our work asks how we are part of the making and unmaking of this relationship. How land stewardship may mean considering notions of ecology and restoration in new ways, as well as our own fragility. Our work delves into ideas of vulnerability, dependence, surrender, defiance, stewardship, and reciprocity.
Acuff’s practice has shifted from the sculptural toward the performative--works depart from cultivated bodily and energetic awareness of being enmeshed in systems of text, object and image. Their installation seeks to make meaningful discourse with the non-human, mythic, instinctual and unconscious world(s). The work builds from a sculptural practice that attempts to represent and re-negotiate our “withness-with-things” wherein any and every fictional boundary dividing nature and culture must gleefully collapse.
Couture’s work explores the intersection and overlap between nature and human-made landscapes using a mix of color, image, and texture. She reuses pieces of older works, stretching their meaning by placing old imagery in a new context. Couture's current work investigates her fragile relationship with motherhood. Her work for this exhibition will explore how this new role as mother connects her to her surrounding landscape and the future in a new way.
Hopkins’ work is often made from the viewpoint of the end in order to re-examine our current political and ecological landscapes, as well as the rise of solastalgia. Since moving to Klickitat County WA, Hopkins has become acutely aware of her concurrently vulnerable and dependent relationships to the landscape around her, as well as the community she now resides in. Hopkins' new works operate as gestures of simultaneous surrender and defiance.
M Acuff hails from the Midwest where they received their B.A. in Art from Augustana College, and their M.A. and M.F.A. in Sculpture and Intermedia from The University of Iowa. Acuff’s artistic practice ranges from object making to installation to video and performance, and addresses the tangled web of relations—aesthetic, ecologic, and material—that define the period in human/geologic history now known as the Anthropocene. In recent years Acuff has exhibited their work nationally in group and solo exhibitions across the country at venues such as Carnation Contemporary, 3S Artspace, the Jundt Museum, White Box, The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Woman Made Gallery, AIR Gallery, and the Attleboro Museum of Art. Acuff has been the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, a Mississippi Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, and has been awarded fellowships at many artist residencies throughout the United States including Signal Fire, Djerassi, The Arctic Circle, Jentel, Ragdale, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Playa and Brush Creek. In 2012 they were a resident at the VCCA’s Moulin Au Nef program in Auvillar, France. Acuff is an Associate Professor of Art at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA.
Exploring a range of topics from place to motherhood to wanderlust, Renee Couture has a diverse practice, encompassing sculpture, photography, and drawing. She employs everyday objects and imagery to make her work approachable and enable viewers to engage with the ideas being presented and connect them to their own lives.
Couture graduated from Buena Vista University with a BA in Studio Art and Spanish. She spent the next four years rambling throughout the United States and South America working a wide range of jobs. She received her MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Couture currently works as a Project Manager for the Percent for Art/Art in Public Places program managed by the Oregon Arts Commission.
Couture's work has been exhibited nationally in group exhibitions and as solo artist. She is the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship and four Career Opportunity Grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, and four Project Grants from the Douglas County Cultural Coalition. Couture has been granted residencies at Ucross Foundation (Ucross, WY), Djerassi Residency Artist Program (Woodside, CA), Jentel (Banner, WY), Playa (Summer Lake, OR), Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (Nebraska City, NE), Pine Meadow Ranch (Sister, OR), and Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT).
Currently, Couture lives on seven acres in rural southern Oregon with her husband, toddler daughter, and two dogs. She works out of a retrofitted 20-foot camper-turned studio space located in her garden.
Carolyn Hopkins graduated with an MFA in Sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute.
Her recent work has been made from the viewpoint of the end in order to re-examine our current political and ecological landscapes, as well as the rise of solastalgia.
Carolyn has collaborated with Mark Dion and has been an Artist in Residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, the Vermont Studio Center, Caldera, Brush Creek, Mildred’s Lane, and Leland Ironworks. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Carolyn lives and works in Lyle, Washington on her 20 acre ranch and studio.