NATURE OF PROVIDENCE
Residency / August 15 - November 2, 2021
Curated by / Laura Ayala & Marisa Caichiolo
Meet the Artist / September 4, 1 - 6pm
BBAX's Artist in Residence Program provides artists' with a unique challenge by offering them the opportunity to create, in record time, a site specific body of work which requires a full time commitment. The program is an invitation for experimentation and research, which is carried out with curatorial accompaniment that supports the artist's concepts, and provides different ways of exploring their own work.
For this year's residency, artist Séverin Guelpa worked in a wide range of mediums: installations, objects, sounds, and photography, while exploring ideas of documentation, gathering, and analyzing life in the desert, an area he has worked in since 2014. This exhibition is the result of the artist's exploration during the residency period, and deals with an unnamed phantom, a specter that haunts or perhaps shines a ghostly light onto the inner soul behind “the desert”. This mirage confuses and fascinates him; but despite this, he decides to explore the physical and emotional territory. Throughout the residency Guelpa plunged into the wild, untamed landscape of the desert, the boulders, the iconic Joshua trees, and the vast terrain opening onto the Milky Way above. As a conceptual artist, Guelpa focused on a survey of the territory, its geography, and the underlying tensions and fragility of living systems in the desert.
The high desert has long been a refuge for intrepid creative characters and stories. It’s a place that attracts dreamers, undeterred by the inhospitable environment. Séverin Guelpa’s artistic proposal gives us the opportunity to access multiple layers of interpretation but, above all, to see the effects on people who decide to experience the desert's apparent emptiness. With this exhibition, Guelpa connects the undeniable and surreal vistas of freestanding home structures with the relationship between the land, nature’s resources, and private property. He gives new meaning to the debris that has been cleansed by the desert, and brings new possibilities of composition that explores the forces of balance in chaos.