Exhibitions | Salt Lake Area Exhibitions

Margaret Curtis: This, too. at UMOCA

Salt Lake City
June 21 – Sep. 13

Summers in the West have become hotter and drier. The results can be seen on mountainsides, which shift from green to yellow as temperatures rise where dry plant life becomes kindling for fire. While wildfires have occurred throughout Earth’s history, these current fires burn longer and hotter, filling the skies with smoke and ash. The intense heat changes the structure of the soil, making it less absorbent to rain. One result is something obvious and visible, while the other remains somewhat unseen. Each is cause for alarm.

In 2022, the Calf Canyon/ Hermits Peak Fire burned across northern New Mexico, leaving a lasting scar on the Pecos Wilderness.  For the past three decades, artist Margaret Curtis has been exploring and drawing inspiration from this significantly altered landscape.

A unique blend of feminism and climate change exploration, Curtis’s work gestures toward the possibility of societal collapse. These works delicately balance highly detailed, captivating imagery with the portrayal of communal trauma, fusing the past, present, and future into one image. She shows what has been, what is, and what their effect will have on our future. Curtis’s work is also deeply personal. It expresses her anxiety when confronted with the effects of climate change on the environment. “In a way I could never have imagined, and which causes me considerable pain,” says Curtis, “my paintings are a small, real-time record of climate change and ecosystem loss.” Curtis’s practice incorporates ash collected from the wildfire burn scars, adding a connection to place and ecological trauma in her work.

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
20 S. West Temple
Salt Lake City UT 84101

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