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Common Ground Gallery
Caroline Hatfield: Foresights & Futures
September 2 – October 16, 2022
Common Ground Gallery
Through sculpture, installation, and extended media, I explore landscape as medium rather than subject. Observing land use and extractive practices in southern Appalachia has influenced my work to be very materially driven. Sourcing and selecting material is a conceptual aspect of my sculptural practice — a process of examining the historical and cultural context of a given substance. The resulting installations and dimensional works consist of both natural and industrial components, yet their embodiment is intentionally estranged and fictitious.
I am interested in using the tools, tropes, and cognitive framework of science fiction to create spaces that challenge and explore our relationship to our environment. By creating an alternative or fictional ground to consider, human hierarchies of presence and absence, potential and waste, and mediations and boundaries can soften and reconfigure. That fluidity trails through the formal qualities of my work, where mutable materials and fragmented forms accumulate and flow into ephemeral sites and speculative geographies.
Foresights & Futures is a body of work meditating on questions of our environment, perceptions, and future. The installation, Beacon, forms another-worldly landscape with an industrial beacon light originating from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Bull Run Fossil Plant (a single-generator coal-fired power plant to be closed by the end of 2023.)
In the mixed media pieces, I am using materials associated with speculative climate-engineering and celestial resource extraction. The image-based works all derive from photographs taken in areas of nature tourism and/or artificial waterways. Each work combines skies, water, light, and geological forms into estranged landscapes. My interests embodied in this work speak to our collective understanding of nature as commodity, a broadening scope of extraction and intervention, and imminent changes in the world around us.
Caroline Hatfield’s creative practice utilizes sculpture, installation, and extended media to explore themes of landscape and science fiction. After completing a Sculpture BFA at The University of Tennessee, she earned an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Art from Towson University. Hatfield has been included in numerous publications and has exhibited artwork nationally and internationally at venues such as The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, The Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington, DE, and the CICA Museum in Gimpo, South Korea. Recent solo exhibitions include “Land and Water” at 500 X Gallery in Dallas, TX and “Impart” at Lincoln Memorial University in Cumberland Gap, TN. Among her awards and honors, she is a recipient of the Trawick Contemporary Art Prize and a South Arts Cross-Sector Impact Grant. Recently appointed Assistant Professor and Area Coordinator of Sculpture at Mississippi State University, she lives and works in Starkville, MS.
Image Credit: Caroline Hatfield, Reciprocity: Skies and Reasons, 2022