All Exhibitions

The Path to Yesterday by Stefania Urist

Apr 19–Jul 7, 2024

The Space

Nature and Ecology -
As art became more and more about concept into the second half of the 20th century, artists like Robert Smithson and Walter DeMaria began to think about the natural world as a canvas for the creation of art. Many artists since have expanded on the contributions of these so-called “Earth Artists” to make work that investigates the collision of nature and culture in ever more complex ways. Issues around ecology, technology, and the future of human civilization have now become fodder for artistic exploration. Saint Kate’s current cycle of exhibitions features artists who use the natural world as a source of inspiration, engaging viewers in an examination of how human culture and the natural world co-exist in interesting and peculiar ways.

Stefania Urist’s interdisciplinary artwork centers around the complex relationship between humans and the environment. Her current sculptures and installations investigate topics like deforestation, trees’ memories, symbiotic relationships, and invasive species migration using foraged plants and recycled industrial materials. Urist’s artwork explores the entangled yet fraught relationship between humans and the environment through extensive scientific research to educate, motivate, and question current systems that overuse and abuse plants, land, water, and the environment. Through installation, sculpture, and works on paper, she uses natural materials like invasive species, felled trees, and foraged clay to address humanity’s participation and impact on nature. She uses natural materials frequently combined with recycled industrial materials as a method to create art sustainably, ethically, and honorably while mitigating environmental issues surrounding human-caused climate change. Phragmites is a European reed that now propagates in wetlands and disturbed environments, creating monocultures and choking out native plants. While phragmites impose monocultures and suppress native flora, they also, paradoxically, serve as a carbon sink, absorbing emissions, cleansing waterways, and enhancing storm resilience. Stefania collects phragmites to mitigate the environment and uses them as sustainable sculpture material to tackle complex social and environmental issues through art. Uristis also interested in the material and temporal processes of industry and capitalism and their interaction with the planet because it is imperative for the future of the health of every species to change the status quo.

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