Eiteljorg Museum

Indianapolis, IN




Fields: Landscape Paintings by Gary Ernest Smith and Harvest Rites: Installations by Tracy Linder


While Gary Ernest Smith's paintings capture a moment in the present - an in-between time, where something has just happened and something else is about to happen - Tracy Linder's photographs on collagen sausage casings offer a haunting glimpse into a moment in the past.

Two exhibitions of these artists will frame a fall season called "Changing Landscapes" by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis.

Fields: Landscape Paintings by Gary Ernest Smith and Harvest Rites: Installations by Tracy Linder will run Oct. 2, 1999, through Jan. 2, 2000, at the Eiteljorg. The exhibitions explore the history of landscape art as well as people's connections to the land. Public programs, an exhibition of children's photography and a Native American Harvest Celebration will make the season a full experience for visitors of all ages.


Fields: Landscape Paintings by Gary Ernest Smith

Kneeling among clods of freshly turned dirt or corn stalk stubble dusted with fresh snow, Gary Ernest Smith sketched. He returned to his studio and, beginning with a horizon line near the top of his canvas, recreated that perspective. Standing in front of one of his paintings of the fields of Utah, the viewer feels as though he or she is standing where Smith stood. One can almost smell the freshly turned soil or feel the chill in the air.(left: Bales, Gary Ernest Smith, Oil on canvas, 3 ft. x 4 ft.; right: Baled, Gary Ernest Smith, Oil on canvas, 6 ft. x 8 ft.)

Raised on a farm, Smith developed an affinity for the land, and these paintings are his attempt to document its beauty before it disappears. The paintings communicate the visual and emotional impact the land has had on him personally and how immense its loss will be. The Eiteljorg will display 25 large-scale paintings, six drawings and some other selections of his work. A 12-minute video shows Smith creating one of the paintings in the exhibition and explaining the process.


Harvest Rites: Installations by Tracy Linder

Like Smith, Tracy Linder wants to document rural America before it disappears - as it did for her and her family in Montana. Photographs of the family working the land are reproduced on collagen sausage casings; they hang in large, gently rolling sheets, offering viewers a haunting look back in time. Other pieces include tractor prints made from sausage casings and stood on end; close inspection reveals small photographs within the treads. (left: Kramers Digging Beets-Broke Down, Tracy Linder, Photo emulsion on collagen sausage casings, twine, wood, 1997, 94 in. x 69 inches, Image courtesy of LiebmanMagnan Gallery, NYC)

Linder's installation art is part of the Eiteljorg's Unexpected West series, which is designed to challenge commonly held perceptions about Western art and the artists who create it. "Installation art consists of several or many objects or images within a particular space," said Jennifer Complo McNutt, curator of contemporary art. "The layout of the objects and the ambiance of the room have meaning and become a part of the experience. Once you enter the space, you become part of the piece."

Within the Fields and Harvest Rites exhibitions, an educational area with photos and information about Indiana's agricultural history will give visitors a chance to access reference materials and share their own affection for and stories about the land.

Fields and Harvest Rites are supported in part by a generous contribution from Star-News Charities.

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