Georgia Rhodes: The States Project: Michigan
I first met Georgia Rhodes while I was a faculty fellow at The University of Georgia and she was a graduate student. Georgia’s work immediately struck me as not only completely honest but refreshingly smart in her use of traditional and contemporary forms of representation. Her work takes on the institution of landscape photography, revering it’s significance, yet cowering in its shadow; a self-realization, and subsequent guilt trip, that sometimes you’d rather be checking your phone in the Grand Canyon than basking in the sublime.
Georgia Rhodes is a Michigan-born artist now living in Providence, Rhode Island. She received her MFA degree in photography at the University of Georgia and her BFA in Art Education from Michigan State University.
Her research considers nature as a material instead of as a subject, using images ranging from created still life images to postcards, snapshots, and traditional landscape photography. Georgia makes work about discovering new ways to enjoy the landscape, making a comparison for how we manifest guilt and the distinct feeling that no matter how we are doing it, we are enjoying nature wrong.
How to Enjoy Nature
I’ve learned a lot about the landscape from behind the wheel of my car. I photograph yards and thought about the absurdity of lawns. I’ve laughed at the ways in which we keep growth at bay, the way we keep each other off our so-called personal property. I watch the sun go down as I pull into my driveway.
I also feel an enormous amount of guilt, that as a landscape photographer and human woman, I was most certainly, definitely, doing ‘it’ wrong. We are supposed to love going outside, waiting for the right moment, reveling in the fresh air and pretending we wouldn’t rather be watching t.v. or reading celebrity gossip.
This guilt often leads me to search for a connection to nature now in an almost obscene way. I use nature as a material instead of as a subject, making work about discovering a new way to enjoy the landscape. Like shoving plants through my car window as a ridiculous sort of passenger.
A lot of my pieces function as a sort of flattening, a screen to stop you. This is just a reminder that nature is totally beautiful but also totally terrifying, and that maybe the sublime isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
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Liz Cohen: The States Project: MichiganFebruary 11th, 2017
Jon Verney: The States Project: MichiganFebruary 10th, 2017
Georgia Rhodes: The States Project: MichiganFebruary 9th, 2017
Leah Gose: The States Project: MichiganFebruary 8th, 2017
Kottie Gaydos: The States Project: MichiganFebruary 7th, 2017