Photographs explore boundary of public, private land

Nicole Jean Hill, St. Peter’s Dome, Archival Pigment Print, 24” x 24”, 2012

Nicole Jean Hill, St. Peter’s Dome, Archival Pigment Print, 24” x 24”, 2012

Artifacts & Incidents, an exhibit of photography by Nicole Jean Hill, opens Jan. 13 in Fairbanks Gallery. There will be a reception for the artist, free and open to the public at 4:30, Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Artifacts & Incidents is a series that explores the evidence of human and animal activity along the boundary between public and private land on the outskirts of rural communities throughout the American West.  The project includes landscape photographs of sites throughout the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. Also included are still life photographs of objects that were used as target practice at makeshift shooting ranges that were discovered while traveling in these places.

Hill’s photographs are of subtle and aggressive relationships within the natural world. They document the natural movement of land, disturbances within its contours, and discarded objects contained within. The source of action that has defined or altered a site or object is often unclear.

“Within each frame and throughout the series, the familiar and the ominous coexist,” says Hill. ‘My goal is to create implied narratives of the orderly and untamable. It is through this visual investigation that I question the nature of nature and the desire to define the boundaries between the knowable and unpredictable landscape.”

Her images contain evidence of the disruptive character of human activity, efforts at cultivation, and the inherent wildness of an environment.

Nicole Jean Hill was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. She received a BFA in photography from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia, including Gallery 44 in Toronto, the Australia Centre for Photography in Sydney, and the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been featured in the Magenta Foundation publication Flash Forward: Emerging Photography from the U.S., U.K., and Canada, the Humble Art Foundation’s The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Photography, and National Public Radio. Hill has been an artist-in-residence at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah, the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, and the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland. She currently resides in Humboldt County, Calif. and is an Associate Professor of Art at Humboldt State University.

The gallery is free and open to the public. Fairbanks Gallery is open Monday–Fridays from 8am-5pm. There will be a reception for the artist, free and open to the public at 4:30, Wednesday, Jan. 15. The exhibit concludes on Feb. 5.

~ Doug Russell

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