Magazine article Artforum International

Kelly Richardson: Northern Gallery for Contemporary art/Spanish City Dome

Magazine article Artforum International

Kelly Richardson: Northern Gallery for Contemporary art/Spanish City Dome

Article excerpt

Kelly Richardsons uncannily evocative works are as haunting as they are beautiful. The UK-based Canadian artist works meticulously with advanced digital technology, interwoven with dramatic natural wilderness landscapes, to construct intricate imagery that projects a dystopian future in which shadowy technological developments and human negligence have permanently altered our natural environment. Her latest exhibition, "Legion," brought together both new commissions and works created over the past decade, illustrating an intriguing evolution in her singular technological vision.

The widescreen, high-definition video installation Leviathan, 2011, shows an eerie landscape in a Texas bayou. Here, thanks to Richardson's blend of reality and simulation, what at first seems natural and beautiful grows frightening and toxic. Lovely bald cypress trees emerge from the water, but bizarre rings of light hover beneath its surface as a strange humming sound fills the air. In Exiles of the Shattered Star, 2006, an idyllic landscape set in the pastoral English Lake District becomes surreal as tiny fireballs gracefully fall from the sky. Although visually exquisite, this juxtaposition is disquieting: a premonition, perhaps, of a planet exploding. Forest Park, 2007, shows a nondescript, desolate place, covered in shrubs and weeds and sonically framed by the menacing screech of cicadas. Oddly, disconcerting rows of flickering streetlights line this scrubland, with no apparent purpose. Was this a neighborhood at one time? Or is it some futuristic landscape where the purpose of the lights has become unfathomable to us now? These are the kinds of unsettling questions about the interactions between humans--or more accurately, human technology--and nature posed by Richardson's work.

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In a recently completed piece, The Great Destroyer, 2007-12, the artist experiments with a different approach. …

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