New Additions to the AP/RC: Cerese Vaden

Vaden’s recently donated prints include many references to flight, birds, stairwells and ladders, and running water. The artist recently noted that the ladders and stairs act as “verbs” in her images, suggesting incomplete actions. The ladders have only three rungs, making it impossible to climb up or down.

In Western Pivot and Earth and Water, Vaden’s flowing water spigots and stairways or ladders suggest our inability to abate the loss of a precious resource. Western Pivot probably refers to the extensive irrigation projects that repurpose arid western landscapes to the will of commercial agriculture. Pivot irrigation machines, attached to a central point, create a circular formation of crops. The ladder paired with the image points to a lack of reconciliation between the land and human will.

Imbalance is a literal element in Precarious, 2012. An elephant draped in a blue cloth performs a circus act. A pachyderm appears again in Unnamed Loss, 2016 as well as in Her Prime, 2012. Vaden wrote that the elephant, “stands in for the vulnerable, isolated individual,” which the formidable female figure appears to be. According to the artist, these images were invented after she lost her mother in 2011 and started to question place as it relates to existence, animal loss as “universal grief,”  and the role of humans as caretakers of the earth.


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