POWELL, Wyoming — Montana artist Tracy Linder will present her TEDx talk, “Surviving the Elements: A Visual Conversation with the Land” Thursday, Sept. 22, as part of an open ag forum featuring local agriculturists.
The event is held in conjunction with a reception for Linder’s “Work” installation of agriculture-inspired art on display through Friday, Sept. 30, at Northwest Gallery in Powell.
Linder’s talk begins at 4 p.m. in Room 70 of the Fagerberg Building at Northwest College and is followed immediately by the panel discussion. The 5 p.m. artist’s reception will be held in Northwest Gallery, located in the Cabre Building on the NWC campus.
In her TEDx talk, Linder unravels the complex issues and sentiments braided into contemporary agricultural practices by contemplating their essence with thematic elements (animal collagen, leather, beeswax, resin, bronze and other materials).
This approach is borne out in shovel blades she created for the exhibit. Linder calls the shovel a “perfect icon of the circle of life – used to turn the earth to both grow things and bury things.” For her shovel blades, Linder transformed the hard steel into organic malleable wax, each one embedded inside with crops, horsehair or images of harvest, working hands or decaying animals. Lit from underneath, they glow with a transparency that invites the viewer to see through them the passage of time and purpose, to witness the circle of life.
Spikes of wheat usually dismissed en masse when casually viewed on nature’s canvas are brought into jarring focus when rendered in human size by Linder. Suspended from the ceiling, the grain head evokes a sense of human stirring as it rides on the ambient air, each kernel dressed in soft leather. It’s hard to look away when confronted so baldly by the sanctity of food sources and the innate survival skills of all species.
Each piece in Linder’s “Work” exhibit invites the viewer to contemplate the connection he or she has with the land. In her talk, she marries that theme with the question, “What kind of connection do we want with the land?”
That’s the same question local agriculturalists will try to answer when they join her in the panel discussion. Area farmers Eric Atkinson (also an assistant professor of biology at NWC), Erin Johnson, David Northrup and Jerry Rodriguez will join Jason Horton, an assistant professor of agribusiness at NWC, on the panel.
They’ll explore the differences and similarities in their approaches to the land and to the future of agriculture, inviting the audience to join them.
After the discussion, the venue moves to the Northwest Gallery for a reception in Linder’s honor, offering another opportunity for visual exploration of the evening’s theme.
“Work” will be displayed in the gallery through Friday, Sept. 30. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m. Admission is free.