• Christina McPhee, (American, born 1954), Canyon Variations #4, 1993
    watercolor on paper, from the series Canyon Variations, 42 x 42 inches.

    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection
    Gift of the William T. Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee, 1995.055.01.
    © Christina McPhee. Photo: E. G. Schempf.

    Christina McPhee, (American, born 1954), Canyon Variations #4, 1993
    watercolor on paper, from the series Canyon Variations, 42 x 42 inches.

    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection
    Gift of the William T. Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee, 1995.055.01.
    © Christina McPhee. Photo: E. G. Schempf.

Dislocation: Alternative Landscapes and Wayfinding

Friday, July 22, 2022 to Sunday, October 30, 2022
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Dislocation: Alternative Landscapes and Wayfinding focuses on divergent ways of representing and recording the land. Selected from the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection, the paintings, drawings, and prints featured in this gallery go beyond faithful depictions of nature scenes and metropolises to convey more transitory experiences of history, memory, mood, and movement.

Dislocation responds to our changing relationship with the land in a globalized society—urban development, climate change, travel, and migration impact the ways that we process and remember places. Technology allows us to encounter remote sites through our computers and phones, skewing our sense of proximity to regions and communities. The sensation of being everywhere and nowhere heightens under extreme cultural and political contexts. Altogether, the works on view underscore these developments by capturing landscapes in unconventional ways, setting us adrift across space and time.

Dislocation: Alternative Landscapes and Wayfinding is organized by Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Krista Alba, Kemper Museum assistant curator.

About the Artists

Charles Burchfield (American, 1893–1967) is known for his quasi-mystical watercolor paintings. In his youth, Burchfield read the works of John Burroughs and of Transcendentalists such as Henry David Thoreau; these literary and spiritual influences are tangible in Night Scene (1919), a dimly illuminated, ghostly nocturne. Suzanne Caporael (American, born 1949), a recognized abstract painter, creates lyrical compositions that are inspired by scientific efforts to document natural phenomena. Dan Christensen (American, 1942–2007) was a pioneer of abstraction who experimented broadly with painting techniques throughout his career. CC-1 (1981) evokes many naturalistic visual parallels, including bright vegetation or flecks of water.

Barbara Grad (American, born 1950) captures rapidly changing cities and landscapes through her fractured compositions. In Drive Right on Left (2011), she layers multiple perspectives, such as bird’s-eye views, with details and textures that can be found in close proximity. Christina McPhee (American, born 1954) creates landscapes by using techniques such as smearing, dragging, dripping, erasing, and coating her media. She alters her source material just enough to create “fugue-like structures” that appear to float apart. Julie Mehretu (American, born Ethiopia, 1970) blends architecture, history, and geography to create flurried and dynamic drawings. In Okemos Drawings (Quartet A) (2008) Mehretu references the community of Okemos, Michigan, which exists just to the east of her childhood home of East Lansing, Michigan. Robert Walden (American, born 1968) produces diligent, handcrafted maps from real and imagined terrains. The title Ontological Surveillance Map 062712 (2012) demonstrates Walden’s interest in the subject of “ontology,” the philosophical study of the nature of being. The title doubly suggests an interest in the act of watching and recording.