Locust Projects is pleased to present Inholdings, an exhibition of new work by Miami-based artist Christy Gast. The two works in this exhibition, a full-scale textile replica of a Nike Hercules missile and a single-channel video entitled War Drums (Nuclear Clock), refer to the Hole-in-the-Donut region of the Everglades. The works in Inholdings shift the focus between natural, cultural and desired histories by appropriating craft traditions to document a place.
The missile sculpture, Gast’s largest textile work to date, is suspended in the main gallery as if stored in a hangar awaiting activation. It is constructed from botanical textile designed and printed by the artist, which overlays images of tomato bushes, Brazilian pepper trees and lovegrass. Remnants of agriculture, invasive species and native flora compete for surface space and reference particular moments of conflict in the landscape.
The single channel video installation War Drums was shot in one of the few existing stands of pine forest in Dade County. The camera pans the horizon in a continuous circle once per minute, moving like the second hand of a clock. At 12 o’clock the camera passes a woman playing traditional Afro Cuban rhythms on a conga. At 6 o’clock, the camera pans another drummer playing snare cadences, military drum corps style. Embodying the cultural conflicts of the Cold War, the drummers pass beats between themselves as the listen deeply to and interpret, the sounds of the forest.
Hole-in-the-Donut, the site Gast examines for Inholdings, is marked by invasions and colonizations, both ecological and geopolitical. It is a deforested pine rockland in the Everglades that was plowed for tomato fields in the early 1900’s. A HM69 Nike Missile base located there housed three nuclear warheads and was on high alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The base closed in 1979; the farms foreclosed decades earlier. Brazilian pepper invaded the fallow fields, and eradication required scraping the fields to the fossilized limestone bedrock. Lovegrass is the first native plant to recolonize this moon like terrain.
Gast’s work stems from extensive research and site visits to places she thinks of as “contested landscapes,” which exhibit evidence of conflict in human desires. She traces, translates or mirrors those conflicts through her art practice.
24/7 Miami got an exclusive interview with the artist herself Christy Gast.
From many places in Miami, What is your art based on the Everglades?
The district is interesting because of the geopolitics and the localized economics and the environment issues collide.
You have showcased your work in many parts of the world from New York, California, and Chile. Which one was your greatest memory?
She has been working in Tierra del Fuego, Chile for the last 3 years. Spending time in the mountains and forest was an amazing experience for her. As of Miami, the experience is amazing and beautiful working in the Everglades.
For Inspiration, what aspects in your life made you want to become an artist?
“I have always felt I wanted to be an artist, even when I didn’t know what exactly that meant when I was a kid”.
Will there be more new elements in your art collection in this upcoming year?
She has an exhibition coming up this year in May at Paris. The exhibition will be about her work done in Tierra del Fuego in Chile. The exhibition will be with the Kadist Foundation; Scientist and other artist will gather together for the work done in Tierra del Fuego.
In figurative and Symbolic, what do the missiles mean to you?
The object of the missile is aggressive. It’s a nuclear warhead.” I want to ask the people to think it about, and that’s why I made them full-scale life size.”
Why the tomato vines and the Brazilian pepper leaves print?
The two plants represented specific points during the conflict. It describes how the land was being used by the military, for agriculture or being reclaimed by nature.
Christy Gast’s exhibition will open Reception on Saturday at 7:30pm
Thank you to Christy Gast and Executive Director Chana Sheldon!
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