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Catherine Pancake
December 4, 2015-January 10, 2015
Catherine Pancake vox populi

Bloodland examines the artist’s historical and current creative work with citizens living near natural gas infrastructure in Pennsylvania. Capturing the “affect” of ecological trauma creates strange bonds between artist and subjects who suffer primarily in silence. Other subjects take up arms in the form of citizen videography and photography in desperate attempts to prove the trauma to the world stifled by a local context divided by industrial ambition. This cycle generates a plethora of virtual landscapes that intrigue the imagination and cry out for intervention. The artist is complicit and also self-critical in how to approach the subject matter. In the video work, Deleuze, Hito Stereyl and Baudrillard are enlisted to “handle” these poor images removed from physical authorship and circulating in cyber-space. The repercussions for creating the images are quite real and can be devastating as shown by the trial transcript “Cabot Oil and Gas vs. Vera Scroggins” wherein Ms. Scroggins is repeatedly taken to court to stop her from entering the natural gas sites and video-taping. The artist is further compromised by her younger brother’s lucrative employment in the natural gas industry as a geologist. The final chapter ensues with the artist and her brother surveying an ecologically damaging old growth timber clear cut on family land held in a life estate deed in West Virginia. The artist’s (and brother’s) mother proceeded with 100 acres of industrial timbering against the wishes of her own children destroying the family’s favorite personal walking and camping trails for unknown reasons.

Tactics of videography, ready-made, photography, printing and text give material ground to the personal and public dramas of the anthropocene: the scientific epoch in which humans become the primary effect in the decline of Earth’s ecosystems.

Catherine Pancake is an award-winning filmmaker and sound artist. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally in a wide variety of venues, including the Museum of Modern Art, Royal Ontario Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Academy of Fine Arts Prague and Big Screen Plaza, Herald Square NYC. Her awards include the Paul Robeson Independent Media Award, Jack Spadaro Documentary Award, Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, the Silver Chris, and Edes Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her films have been broadcast in the U.S.A. and Great Britain (Sundance Channel, PBS, FreeSpeech TV, CommunityChannelUK) and are distributed by Bullfrog Films and the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. Sound art releases can be found on Ehse Records and Recorded in Baltimore. Pancake completed her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2012. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Temple University in the Film and Media Arts Program. Pancake was recently commissioned by Goldsmiths at University of London to provide creative work for “Citizen Sense”, a 1.5M (EUR) multi-year project directed by Dr. Jennifer Gabrys.

Read the Artforum review by Becky Huff Hunter here