Western Landscapes, Bomb Sites, and Target Practice Off the Grid
artwork by Sarah Lyon
Artist Reception Friday, October 14
216 South Shelby Street (at Market Street)
Louisville, Ky 40202
In conjunction with the Louisville Photo Biennial
During the summer of 2011, I took a trip to visit the Wendover Residence Program in Wendover, Utah. Matthew Coolidge, the founder and director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) in Los Angeles, was generous to share time showing me around the various buildings associated with the residency, and to introduce me to some of the current artists working there. CLUI is a non-profit art/research organization that employs a multimedia and multidisciplinary approach to increase and diffuse knowledge about how the nation’s lands are apportioned, utilized and perceived. The Wendover Residency exists to support the development of new interpretations of the land.
I considered my trip to be a reconnaissance mission to brainstorm project ideas for applying to the residency. It was also a much-needed post-Kentucky Derby vacation. In total I spent three nights at the Red Garter casino hotel for $30 a night, and one night in an airstream trailer in the backyard of the main residency space. My days involved wandering the town on foot and driving around the region in my rental car. I brought my cameras, but just for fun, and to collect data for brainstorming. I had not anticipated creating an exhibition from the images, as I was making them purely for myself out of innocent thrill of discovery of a new place. When Salvo approached me to host an exhibition of my work for the Photo Biennial, I embraced the opportunity to form a body of work out of my Wendover experience.
More about the Wendover Residence Program (from www.clui.org):
The Center operates a residence program to support the development of new interpretive methodologies and ideas. The program is open to artists, researchers, theorists, or anyone who works with land and land use issues in an innovative and engaging manner. Residents primarily work out of the CLUI facilities at Wendover, Utah, and explore and interpret the landscape of that unique and inspiring geographic region, which includes the Great Salt Lake and its desert and salt-flat environs.
Some have claimed that Wendover is centrally located in the middle of nowhere. If this is true, then nowhere is a complex and fascinating place indeed. The Center established The Wendover Residence Program in 1997, to bring selected people to Wendover to better understand this place, including the issues it raises and the activities it inspires, and what it might represent, on a local, national, global, and theoretical level. The Program exists to encourage new and compelling ways of thinking about the built landscape, and to develop interpretations of it, literal and otherwise, in any medium. It is open to anyone with interesting, constructive ideas, and an ability to see them through.
More about Wendover:
Wendover City is on the western border of Utah, and is contiguous with West Wendover, Nevada. It is famous for the nearby Bonneville Salt Flats, the 26,000 acres of salt flats where land speed records are made. During World War II, the Wendover Army Air Field was a training base for bomber pilots, including the crew of the Enola Gay. The Enola Gay was stationed there until June 1945, when it flew to drop the bomb on Japan.