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This Land Is My Land exhibition communicates across America’s cultural and social divides

Jan. 18-Mar. 22
Layton Gallery
Opening Reception: Winter Gallery Night
Jan. 18, 5-9 p.m.

This Land Is My Land, an exhibition opening January 18, 2008, takes viewers beyond our shared notions of today’s cultural and social communities to the voices of "the other" – the identities informed by sensibilities of alienation, separation and displacement.

Foundations (first-year) Faculty and Curator Cedar Marie has brought together seven diverse artists to explore divergent cultures with respect for the perspectives and values generated within their boundaries and for the collisions and shifts that occur beyond “mainstream” American culture.

"The artists," said Marie, "communicate across cultural and social divides through works that are largely media-driven. They address issues ranging from personal identity to racial, gender and sexual stereotypes; landscape and land usage; and cultural self-images projected on and within the body.

"The results are intimate expressions of human experience extending beyond the definitions of self, home and being in a foreign land within a dominant culture."

The works include photography by Bill Basquin, Tom Jones and Jenny Price; film and video works by Douglas Rosenberg and Adam Davis; GPS, online and digital technologies by Paula Levine; and a site-specific work by installation artist Amy Chaloupka. Three of the artists are Wisconsinites; one is a former resident of the state.

Bill Basquin (San Francisco, CA) – An award-winning filmmaker, Basquin focuses on the relationships of humanity, agriculture, nature and the urban environment. His series of still photographs, "Soiled," "search for the fusion between the urban and rural in his life."

Amy Chaloupka (Sheboygan, WI) – Chaloupka is an installation artist who has produced numerous public artworks focusing on map structures and the viewer’s expectations of diverse landscapes and environments. Her site-specific work, "Vanishing Point," uses "maps to activate the small topographies of life that are often overlooked."

Adam Davis (Pasadena, CA) – Often focusing on the transitory and blurred aspects of identity, Davis produces objects that question, challenge and reveal contemporary culture and ideas. His video work, "PAL," titled for the conventional meaning as well as a brand of bubble gum, explores definitions of homosexuality. "Take Out Your Hammers and Loosen Their Belts" is the first in a series of works that use the legend of John Henry to explore issues of masculinity and sexuality in the Deep South.

Tom Jones (Madison, WI) – A member of the Ho Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, photographer Jones documents the contemporary life of his tribe and their relationship to the dominant white culture in the 21st century. His series "Native" Commodity focuses on the Wisconsin Dells’ use of Native American symbols – none of which are from the Ho Chunk culture despite the Dells being the Ho Chunk Nation’s original homeland.

Paula Levine (San Francisco, CA) – Working in video, experimental photography, digital media and GPS technologies, Levine investigates the relationships between places using San Francisco and Baghdad as sites that reveal much about our culture’s attitudes toward "foreign" and "domestic." Her interactive work, "Shadows from another Place: San Francisco <-> Baghdad," boomerangs the viewer to locations that are politically and culturally charged, resulting in an erasure of "geographic distance and safety."

Douglas Rosenberg (Madison, WI) – Rosenberg is an Emmy-nominated director, performance and video artist whose work has been driven by content that addresses issues of identity, trauma, war, literature and the boundaries of art and mediated performance. On view are dance films, "Sense," "Site" and "Terrain," which create spaces for contemplation that are geographically specific, and "Where is my…," a series of large-scale, self-portrait photographs that use medical imaging to reveal aspects of identity and body landscape.

Jenny Price (Minneapolis, MN) – Price’s current photographic work documents contemporary sex-worker culture, examining the complexities of human nature, desires and the sexual identities often concealed in our society.

Curator Cedar Marie received her M.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the recipient of a David and Edith Sinaiko Frank Graduate Fellowship for a Woman in the Arts and an Advance Opportunity Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited in Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Massachusetts and Brazil and widely cited in such publications as Slate Magazine and the College Art Association’s Art Journal.

This Land Is My Land continues the Culture in Transition series inaugurated by MIAD’s Director of Galleries Mark Lawson in 2006 to explore the rapidly changing nature of our global culture.

The exhibition runs through March 22 in the Frederick Layton Gallery. An opening reception will be held on Winter Gallery Night, Friday, January 18, 5 – 9 p.m. Bill Basquin, Amy Chaloupka, Tom Jones, Jenny Price and Douglas Rosenberg are among the artists expected to attend.