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High Visibility (Blaze Orange)

Jaclyn Wright

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Filter Photo is pleased to present, High Visibility (Blaze Orange), a solo exhibition of work by Jaclyn Wright. 

 

High Visibility (Blaze Orange) uses debris collected from improvised gun ranges on public lands to create photographic installations that explore the impacts and material traces of late capitalism and settler colonialism on the landscape of the U.S. West. Through the use of original images, archival photographs and maps, and performances, the work shows the crucial role photography plays in codifying land use. The work explores how these codes manifest themselves in behaviors observed in Utah's West Desert. 

Much of the West Desert, the ancestral home of the Goshute people, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is classified by the U.S. Government as "public lands." While the term "public" implies land open to all use, significant acreage is privately leased for mining and cattle ranching. The West Desert is located on the western side of the Great Salt Lake. The Great Salt Lake is rapidly drying up due to drought, population growth, and water diversion for agriculture. The leasing of public land, capitalist water use, and human-caused ecological change are linked to the drying of the Great Salt Lake, threatening millions of migratory birds and those who live in Salt Lake City. 

Nearly one-third of the West Desert's 7.7 million acres are used as biological and chemical weapons testing grounds. The remaining areas of the West Desert are open to various uses, including improvised gun ranges. I see this land use as rooted in settler colonial, patriarchal, and capitalist systems that perpetuate ideologies undermining egalitarianism and environmentalism's goals. 

The work incorporates the color of the most conspicuous type of debris found in the West Desert on these ranges—blaze orange clay pigeons. These aerial targets are painted a highly saturated and synthetic orange, "blaze orange," to ensure they stand out against the sky on a clear day. The contrast produced between these complementary colors enables shooters to track the unnatural target more easily against the natural landscape. I am interested in the unequivocal struggle between the natural world and its codification by bureaucrats, the visible and invisible, and the inherent ironies of playing out fantasies of freedom and nativism on stolen land.

Jaclyn Wright is an American multi-disciplinary artist and educator. Her work incorporates archival images, in-camera collages using a large format view camera, and photographic installations. Wright’s current work critically explores the culture of land use, legacies of settler colonialism, and late capitalism in the American West. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and published widely. Recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include Filter Space (Chicago), Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City), Sabine Street Studios (Houston), and SFO Museum (San Francisco); recent and upcoming group exhibitions include Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, (Netherlands), PhMuseum (Italy), SF Camerawork (San Francisco) OCT-LOFT (Shenzhen, China), the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City), the Houston Center for Photography (Houston), amongst others. Her work has been included in collections at The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL. Wright was a 2023 Utah Visual Arts Fellow, a finalist for the 2023 Aperture Portfolio Prize and is a 2024-25 Foam Talent. She received her MFA in Studio Art from Indiana University and is an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT.

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Exhibition Dates: May 3rd  June 22nd, 2024
Opening Reception: May 3rd | 6 – 9 PM

First Friday Reception: June 7th | 5 – 8 PM
Location: Filter Space | 1821 W Hubbard St, Suite 207

Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 5 PM *by appointment only

This exhibition is supported, in whole or in part, by federal assistance listing number, 21.027 awarded to Filter Photo by the US Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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