Artist: Erin Jane Nelson
Exhibition title: Her Deepness
Venue: Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, US
Date: May 9 – August 4, 2019
Photography: All images copyright and courtesy of the artist, courtesy of DOCUMENT, Chicago, Chapter NY and Atlanta Contemporary
Atlanta-based Erin Jane Nelson has been traveling around the American Southeast to barrier islands and coastal wetlands that are rapidly eroding and disappearing. The five Gulf States account for one-third of the nation’s oil production, 40 percent of our seafood, and 10 of America’s 15 largest shipping ports. The coastline of the American South is our countries’ provider. Our gold rush. And yet, scientists say the world’s ocean level will rise from one to three feet over the next century, a change that has already and will continue to disproportionately affect the American and Global South.
Where there once was a vanishing point, a clear view of the past and a path forward that is now gone, now we only see a misty horizon. With photography collaged and stitched into fabric and ceramic works, Nelson creates foreboding memorials to our natural world. Her works attempt to shout and laugh through the haze, there are traces of defeat and guilt, of hope and courage. She creates sensuous translucent tales that embrace what could be as well as fantasy coffins what has already been lost.
Her work is an attempt to better understand the world, the vulnerability of coast, the seductiveness of an endless view of deep blue water. Politics and nature. Nature and Politics. The past is never stable. We are asked to take a step back, to consider our loss of balance.
Erin Jane Nelson received her BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art in 2011. Her work has recently been exhibited in “Between the Waters” at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and “Photography Today: Public Private Relations” at Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. She has had solo shows at Document Gallery, Chicago (2015, 2017) and Hester, New York (2015) and was included in ATLBNL: The Atlanta Biennial at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (2016) among numerous group exhibitions at Van Doren Waxter, New York (2019), Downs & Ross, New York (2017), Honor Fraser, Los Angeles (2016), Galerie Division, Montreal (2016), and Ellis King, Dublin (2015). She has contributed to publications including BURNAWAY, The Creative Independent, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and Art Papers, and has curated exhibitions at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Contemporary, and elsewhere. In 2016-17, while she and her husband, artist Jason Benson, were studio residents at Atlanta Contemporary, they operated the artist-run space Species out of their shared studio. Nelson is represented by Document Gallery, Chicago and Chapter NY.