Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg combine performance, sculpture, photography, and video to investigate ancestral memory and collective history. In February of 2011, the artists staged a performance using the dress and demeanor of imagined nineteenth-century Midwestern farmers—a set of characters they further developed during residencies with the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah and Goldwell Open Air Museum, near Death Valley, California. The barren landscape of the American West offered them new challenges for acting out survival narratives. Posing in a series of staged photographs, McCaw and Budsberg express a stoic determination as pioneers trying in vain to force a land of perpetual drought to bear fruit. Focusing on the lone figure in a landscape—a time-honored convention of American painting and film—the artists engage in archetypal dramas of man against nature.
Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg