26 December 2023

Transforming Terrain

Jeremy Starn examines human
intervention on the land

 

by Kate Mothes

“I see all my works as simultaneously maps, photographs, and paintings,” says Jeremy Starn, whose work merges photography and technology in an ongoing exploration of the landscape. Beginning with publicly accessible imagery captured by remote sensing satellites, the artist heavily manipulates aerial views, creating hybrid expanses of natural terrain, agricultural systems, mines and other industry, and township and range lines. He says, “They all have an inherent capacity to explore the relationship between the real and the representational, and prompt exploration of what comes first in an age of planetary transformation: the map or the territory.”

Starn’s compositions meld geological and human history into abstracted expressions of landscape, conveying “what has been, what is, and what could be.” He continues, “The work often confronts the sticky issues inherent in the Anthropocene, which places human intervention in the annals of the earth.” Open pit mines, large-scale irrigation systems, and sprawling cities that the artist likens to spreading cancer cells provoke a different way of viewing the world around us, which we are perpetually transforming.

From the series 'Farms'

“Representation of the landscape has changed drastically in the digital age,” Starn says. “There is simultaneously a growing disconnect from land and a more nuanced understanding than previously possible. My work explores the concerns of this disconnect as well as the drive to understand, alter, and manipulate it. It is a human tendency to change our surroundings to our benefit, even while we ignore it.”

Scale plays an integral role in Starn’s work as he uses an experimental process to miniaturizing vast landscapes and expand details of natural forms, magnifying and examining the effects that industry has wrought on the land, along with the alterations—and environmental ramifications—that continue year after year. He says, “I hope that my work moves viewers to reconsider how they see the world, to acknowledge differences between realities—both each others and our shared representations—and to appreciate our own very human scale, which is both small in time and space and terrifyingly immense in consequence.”

Find more on the artist’s website and Instagram.

From the series 'Dalhart, Texas'
From the series 'Dalhart, Texas'
From the series 'Farms'
From the series 'Farms'
From the series 'Farms'
From the series 'Farms'
Installation view of 'Farms'

All images © Jeremy Starn

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