In her first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Irish artist Katie Holten joins the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis as an artist-in-residence. The exhibition is a new site-specific indoor installation comprised of sculpture, drawings, and an outdoor performance that collectively explores global ecology and social gestures within moments of environmental crisis. Interested in our fragile ecology from an international perspective—while also considering local concerns—Holten’s work is a creative, aesthetic proposition for community friendly solutions. Holten renders nature essential, and in the process asks individuals and communities to ponder their natural environment and consider human fragility in an uncertain future.
Holten’s exhibitions heighten a sense of urgency and action through work that expresses the fragile ecology of local environments. Acknowledging scarce natural resources and the importance of recycling in her work, Holten installs a life-size replica of a native Missouri tree in the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis’ exhibition space. Constructed from reconstituted waste materials (cardboard, paper, wire, tape) collected from the Contemporary, this sculptural object fills almost the entire gallery space. The work asks the viewer to evaluate what is left of the area’s wider natural heritage (the starting place of Lewis and Clark’s journey westward and a former prairie) and to consider what our impact has been on the landscape of this region since then. Holten addresses environmental and social questions in a way that ultimately expresses human vulnerability.