Solastalgia, as defined by the philosopher Glenn Albrecht, is the feeling of homesickness while we are still at home. More specifically, it describes the anxiety experienced due to environmental changes, particularly those caused by climate change.
Andrea Jensen’s exhibition is a manifestation of the distress caused by those environmental changes–as seen through the lens of abstracted landscape paintings. Originally from the Midwest, Jensen experienced the shift from a humid environment to an arid one when moving to Utah. Both places experience severe weather events affected by climate change, and both are “home” to Jensen. In Utah, change is revealed through forest fires and drought, with the latter most evident in the drying up of the Great Salt Lake.
These phenomena and landscapes are the source material for Jensen’s paintings, which are easily recognized by inhabitants of the West. The lack of water and vegetation shapes her barren landscapes. Using colors influenced by smoke from forest fires, Jensen creates an unnatural and frightening orange haze that shifts the existing natural colors to an overall warm tone, especially visible during sunrise and sunset.
Through her use of abstraction, Jensen’s paintings exist between beauty and uneasiness, asking the viewer to consider what that juxtaposition means in relation to our region’s seemingly slow-motion yet perceptible threat. The paintings in Solastalgia depict a place in flux, evoking a sense of longing for a place that no longer exists.
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
20 S. West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT
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