James Watrous Gallery artist talk with Chele Isaac & BA Harrington | wisconsinacademy.org
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James Watrous Gallery artist talk with Chele Isaac & BA Harrington

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

Chele Isaac and BA Harrington's collaborative, multimedia installation work at the James Watrous Gallery explores themes of dislocation, migration, and the way nostalgia distorts and narrows the idea of "American-ness." For their latest project, they took a strategic, meandering road trip from Madison to San Diego in early 2011, following historic migration routes like the Oregon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and Highway 66. The westward road trip has become a popular culture cliché, a quintessentially American approach to examining one’s circumstances and starting anew. In taking this trip, Harrington and Isaac set out to grapple with their own mental image of the heroic, hyper-masculine American West.

Guided by an inquiry into how nostalgia influences our identification as Americans, Isaac and Harrington visited a dizzying array of historic markers, small history museums, alternative communities, truck stops and border patrol check points. The work in this show represents an attempt to make manifest the encounter with landscapes traveled, people encountered and stories unspooled. Their installation at the James Watrous Gallery uses video projections, sound and large-scale sculpture to create a deeply allusive hybrid installation of vignettes reminiscent of museum dioramas.

This video was taken at the opening reception on Friday, January 13, at the James Watrous Gallery in Overture Center for the Arts

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BA Harrington is a Madison artist and a traditionally trained furnituremaker who earned an MFA in wood and an MA in Art History from the UW–Madison.  Her work, as well as her collaborative projects with Chele Isaac, has been shown regionally and nationally. Harrington and Isaac share a fascination with the myth of the American West.

Chele Isaac is a video and installation artist from Madison, WI. Her narrative works utilize multi-channel video projections, sound as environment, photography and sculpture. Her installations have shown nationally in art centers, project galleries and museums.

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James Watrous Gallery 
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25