Meg Roussos: New Vistas: Photographers working with the Landscape
Since her completion of the three major U.S. long distance hiking trails photographic artist, Meg Roussos has pursued work that engages in a dialogue about what it means to physically experience the landscape. The economy of effort is highly regarded through her process, material, and installations, often hauling equipment through difficult terrain, dragging a treadmill into the woods, or constructing night photographs during the day. Roussos could be considered a Walking Artist. The action of walking in the landscape is the base of her practice and she seeks to encourage others to critically consider what we see on our own walks and the treatment of the spaces in which we are walking.
Meg Roussos, b.1990 and raised in Southern Ohio, recently finished her MFA degree in East Tennessee. After earning a B.S. in Photojournalism from Ohio University, she completed the Triple Crown hiking over 7,500 miles. Recent explorations reflect this cathartic journey which deepened her bond to the land. Roussos is based in Bainbridge Island, WA.
“Pseudo Night” explores the representation and sublimation of walking through a landscape. Roussos’ night trail images are a constructed reflection of her experience with long distance hiking. Roussos photographs trails in a way to reflect the suspended meditative moment in time that happens during her long walks. This effect is meant to mimic the night, although she photographs during the day. This practice references old western films that used to produce night scenes during the day. Playing with traditional troupes in imagery, such as the Rückengur figure or presence through absence, these images both invite and caution one to the edge of the woods.
#treadoutside takes form in a nine-channel video installation. In this social intervention, I carried a treadmill into the woods on a trail in Tennessee. Unsuspected hikers came across a piece of walking technology with a trail camera mounted near it. Some engaged the treadmill, others took selfies, some ignored it. #treadoutside speaks to our relationship with the outdoors and how we engage with it. Rebecca Solnit speaks to this in her novel, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, “Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors…disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.” #treadoutside engages with the outdoors and technology, the amount of time we spend walking outside, and the economy of effort. The treadmill re-contextualizes the act of walking as a way of re-thinking my experience while on long hikes and the methodical movement while on the trail. Each of these works vary in medium and presentation, but all materialize via walking in the landscape.
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