Nina Elder

Gallery Affiliations: Rule Gallery

Region: West

“There was nothing but land; not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made.”

A century ago, Willa Cather used these words to describe the center of the United States. The West has since been developed, and now the land is ravaged and wilderness is quarantined. The marred landscape chronicles ‘the American way’ as a voracious consumption of raw materials and space, followed by an evacuation that declares obsolescence. Once remarkable for its unbounded natural beauty that fueled human ambition, much of the heartland of America is scarred and disregarded.

Through the vernacular of landscape painting, and using parking lots, factories, and junk heaps as my source material. I explore the delineation between land and landscape, beauty and banality. My work scrutinizes the aesthetic mitigation that often camouflages humanity’s dependence on nature. This industrialized landscape is the physical manifestation of modern economies, policies, and powers, yet I approach it as pure spectacle. I aspire to elucidate and aestheticize the friction, grandeur, mystery, frankness, degeneration, necessity and beauty in the contemporary American landscape.