Between Land and Sea: Binh Danh, David Knox and Jennifer Shaw
December 8, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Family Day: Saturday, Dec 15, 10am-1pm
Gallery Talk with Binh Danh: Dec 15, 3:30pm
Constance Lewis’s Curator’s Statement:
Between Land and Sea was born from a wish to explore the personal stories hiding in plain sight in the New Orleans landscape. We approached three distinguished photographers and asked them to examine narratives of overlooked communities and the personal connections we all have with this land. These artists present paths of migration and growth, displacement and resilience, carved by water. Rooted in the unique landscape of southern Louisiana, they celebrate the community and personal stories of those living between our land and sea. The photographers selected the historical objects on display in this exhibition from the museum’s permanent collection to commemorate New Orleans’s tricentennial anniversary and underscore the historically rich offerings of the Louisiana State Museum.
Binh Danh: Xanh, LÀ
Binh Danh explores the ways farming communities adapt in response to the landscapes they encounter. Through portraiture and landscapes, he illustrates the paths that people carved from Vietnam to Louisiana and the traditions they carried and created along the way. Just as settlers before them brought their traditions and relationships to the land, the Vietnamese community of Louisiana has made its mark on the local landscape and been marked by it in return. To create his images, Danh uses the traditional daguerreotype process, which allows viewers to see their own reflections in the work. This merging of the self with the photographed landscape encourages viewers to reflect on the challenges of assimilating and becoming overlooked, much like features in the landscape.
The title for this section of the exhibition comes from the Vietnamese word for green, màu xanh lá, which directly translates to the color of leaves, illustrating the central role that the natural landscape plays in many of our interpretations of the world. “Xanh, LA,” is a playful reimagining of the word intended to evoke a fictional place on the map.
David Knox: Tableaux Montage
David Knox creates photographic montages by using his imagery and samples of Civil War photography from the Library of Congress archives. Each composition, made up of multiple layers of collaged digital imagery, weaves together the disparate lives of soldiers, civilians, women, and children. Some subjects have been clearly pasted into the composition, obviously disrupting the spatial landscape to create fictional narratives that attempt to contextualize past and present as mutually framing forces: the present both derives from and interprets history.
Jennifer Shaw: Flood State
Jennifer Shaw imagines how a land that has always been threatened by water might evolve into an underwater culture as an adaptation to the reality of flooding. She creates challenging imagery to point out problems and the need for possible solutions. Her photogravure-photograms are made by layering actual objects directly onto the surface of pre-emulsified metal plates and printing the final composition on paper with a traditional printing press.
About The Arsenal & LSM
The Louisiana State Museum (LSM) is a statewide network of National Historic Landmarks and architecturally significant structures, which house half a million artifacts that showcase Louisiana’s history and culture. The LSM operates under the direction of Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.
The Arsenal is located in the heart of the French Quarter, only a few yards from historic Jackson Square in New Orleans, Louisiana. Built in 1839, the Arsenal originally housed the Orleans Artillery. Since 1914 it has served as a Louisiana State Museum site; it is open to the public via the adjacent Cabildo museum.
Images, top to bottom:
Binh Dahn – Louisiana Wormwood, 2018
David Knox – The Cane Field, 2018
Jennifer Shaw – Flood State 080, 2018