SAN ANTONIO, TX.- Artpace
San Antonio announced its International Artists-in-Residence exhibition. New works by resident Mike Osborne (Austin, Texas) are on view through September 23, 2012. The residents were selected by guest curator Sarah Lewis, an independent curator and historian.
Combining a documentary style with sometimes cinematic qualities, Mike Osbornes photographs capture the reality and fantasy of specific, sometimes charged places. Exploring subjects such as architecture, public space, landscape, and technology, his work reflects his interest in the perpetual flux of the contemporary world, which can be observed in projects such as Enter the Dragon (2006-2008) in Beijing, Taipei, and Shanghai, China; Underground (2009-10) in Stuttgart, Germany; and Floating Island (2012) in the Great Basin Desert in Wendover, Utah.
At Artpace, Osborne continued work on Floating Island, a project he began during a recent residency provided by the Center for Land Use Interpretation. He chose a remote town as the heart of the project because of a visceral attraction to its landscape and an interest in its unique cultural, military, and economic history. Located in the sprawling Great Basin Desert and straddling the Utah/Nevada border, Wendover (Utah) and West Wendover (Nevada) are home to the remnants of a major military installation, several casinos, and a community of roughly 6,000 people. In the late 20th century, Wendovers livelihood shifted from dependency on the military (many World War II pilots, including those who dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, trained at Wendover Airfield) to a casino-based economy by the 1980s.
Artpaces residency provided an opportunity for Osborne to develop a multifaceted installation for this new project. Inspired by land artists Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson and their encounters with this same desert landscape as a site for executing and presenting their work, Osborne treated his Artpace studio/gallery as a non-site (to use Smithsons term) or container for the pictorial and material artifacts of his experience working in Wendover.
Throughout Floating Island, Osborne plays with the boundaries of narrative, truth, and artifice. While material artifacts such as The High Desert Advocate provide a reference point for the photographs and anchor them to a specific context, the newspapers obscure the fact that not all of the images were shot in Wendover. Among the prints in the exhibition, he includes a new photograph, White Plane, Port San Antonio, shot at a local airplane finishing firm, Gore Design Completions. Though geographically disparate, this new work fits seamlessly into Floating Islands larger constructed narrative by evoking Wendovers history of aviation as well as connecting to the projects more fantastical, otherworldly elements.