The Weather Makers is the first solo exhibition in Scotland by Canadian artist Kelly Richardson and is programmed as part of Dundee Contemporary Arts’ Discovery Film Festival. Richardson creates hyper-real digital films of rich and complex landscapes that have been manipulated using CGI, animation and sound. Weaving together myth and metaphor with scientific research and new digital technologies, The Weather Makers will present three large-scale video works alongside a new print series.
The exhibition asks the viewer to consider what the future might look like if we continue on our current trajectory of planetary pillaging and consumption, and why we have allowed ourselves to arrive at such a moment of global environmental crisis.
Mariner 9 (2012), Kelly Richardson
A 12-metre-long panoramic view of a Martian landscape set hundreds of years in the future, Mariner 9 (2012) presented in this partnership between Dundee Contemporary Arts and NEoN Digital Arts Festival, evokes the human search for life beyond our own planet that continues even as we damage or destroy entire ecosystems on Earth. This vast video work was created using scenery-generation software employed by the film and gaming industries in combination with technical data from NASA’s missions to Mars to produce a faithful artist’s rendering of Martian terrain, populated by the debris from centuries of exploration.
In Orion Tide (2013-14), Richardson presents a desert punctuated by spurts of light and smoke repeatedly launching into the dark night sky. The viewer is left to question what these rocket-like movements are; why they have been launched; and who or what they are carrying. They could be departing explorers searching for a new world or perhaps the escape of a group of planetary refugees, a mass exodus of humanity.
In Leviathan (2011), a 20-minute loop of footage shot on Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas displays the region’s unique bald cypress trees in their swamp environment. Filmed from a single vantage point, like a painting set in motion, Richardson has digitally enhanced the nearly monochromatic setting with strange yellow tendrils of light, undulating and twisting beneath the water, hinting at an undiscovered or mutated bioluminant life-form, or perhaps the aftermath of something altogether more disturbing.
Accompanying the exhibition’s large-scale video works will be Richardson’s latest series of chromogenic prints, Pillars of Dawn, which present images of an imaginary desert in which trees and terrain have been physically crystallised by changes in the environment.
As part of NEoN Digital Arts Festival, Kelly has also been invited to curate an exhibition of digital art making reference to both her own immersive landscape work and the festival theme of Media Archaeology. That exhibition will run in Centrespace in the Visual Research Centre on the lower ground floor of DCA, open from Sat 11 November – Sun 19 November 2017.
Richardson currently lives and works on Vancouver Island where she is Associate Professor in Visual Arts at the University of Victoria. Her work is held in many major international collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, SMoCA and Albright-Knox Art Gallery to the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Arts Council Collection England and Towner, Eastbourne.
Her work has been selected for the Beijing, Busan, Canadian, Gwangiu and Montreal biennales, and recent solo exhibitions include SMoCA, CAG Vancouver, VOID Derry, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, and a major survey at the Albright-Knox.
Supported by the Canadian High Commission