Nicole Pietrantoni, “Precipitous”

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Installation view. Precipitous is a series of five handbound accordion books that expand to create a life-sized panoramic image of a rising sea. As books, the works gesture to the authority of the encyclopedic; as an installation, they dismantle a sublime image through cuts, folds, and halftone dots.

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Installation view. When presented as an installation, Precipitous is composed of five tall paper columns, which spill onto the floor like waves at the viewer’s feet. In this format, the text is broken and loses its meaning, privileging the massive image.

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Book format of all five books. Precipitous folds down into five thin accordion books. In this format, the text is legible, but the image becomes an abstract series of dizzying halftone dots.

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Book format of a single open book. The overlaid poems by Devon Wootten are excisions from a report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change titled “Climate Change and Water.” Wootten takes this dense, scientific language and crafts an intimate poem about humanity’s relationship to nature.

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Stack of five closed books.

 


 
Nicole Pietrantoni (Walla Walla, WA)
nicole-pietrantoni.com

Precipitous
2014
Archival inkjet on Awagami Inbe Thick Japanese paper, folded and bound into 5 accordion books
Edition size: 3
22 pages
14′ x 6′ x 1′, installation format
13″ x 9.5″ x 1/4″, each book

With a specific interest in print’s historic relationship to representation, my work draws attention to our active role in constructing and idealizing landscape. Referencing the encyclopedic, the 19th-century panorama, as well as the Romantic painting tradition, Precipitous nods to a period when humans’ relationship to landscape was rapidly transformed. Similarly, today’s changing landscape demands an examination of the tension between one’s enjoyment of beautiful, idealized landscapes and an awareness of their ecological complexity.

To this end, my work is guided by the following questions: what stories shape my interaction with and understanding of landscape and nature? How have cultural and historical scripts, media, and technology disciplined me? How does art history and popular culture influence a particular way of making images? And finally, what stories do I contribute to this discourse in my work as an artist? Rather than a fixed site or a single image, I seek to engage nature as an accumulation of processes, perceptions, and narratives – a dynamic and shifting site open for interpretation.

Precipitous is a collection of five handbound accordion books that expand to create a life-sized panoramic image of a rising sea. As books, the work gestures to the authority of the encyclopedic and the cataloging of natural specimens. As an installation, it dismantles a sublime image through cuts, folds, and halftone dots. The overlaid poems by Devon Wootten are excisions from a report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change titled “Climate Change and Water.”



2015-winner