Drama and stillness, beauty and strangeness, hard science and science fiction—these dualities come together in the work of Kelly Richardson. Taking cues from 19th-century landscape painting, 20th-century cinema, and 21st-century planetary research, the artist crafts video installations that offer imaginative glimpses into the future and prompt a careful consideration of the present. Richardson sees science fiction as “one of the best tools we have to visualize and experience to some degree what life might be like,” and she argues that “given the state of things environmentally, culturally . . . there has never been a more important time to visualize our potential futures.”
The Canadian artist’s meticulous and mysterious installations have been exhibited to critical acclaim internationally. Tales on the Horizon is her first solo exhibition in the western United States and has particular resonance; the Southwest hosts many of the research facilities—for space exploration and weapons testing—that have produced the data and images that Richardson uses as source material. Her Mariner 9 immerses visitors in a Martian landscape littered with the remains of past exploratory missions and Orion Tide depicts ambiguous rocket-propelled objects launching into the night sky. Presented in the very landscape that inspired them, these artworks give us pause to consider how our environment is being used to develop tools for tomorrow, as well as what realities tomorrow might hold.
Organized by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Sponsored by the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation and by Tamar Weiss in memory of Emil Weiss