Wild Pigment Project promotes ecological balance and regenerative economies through a passion for wild pigments, their places of origin, and their cultural histories. This group exhibition gathers pigments, artwork and stories from people who’ve engaged with the project since its inception in 2019.
Read statements from the curator and our gallery director below, and explore the new Wild Pigment Project exhibition guide.
Community-building among wild pigment practitioners is a challenge: these artists are out there, often living and working alone or in very small communities. Conversations unfold slowly in this world; even digital communiques can feel like messages in a bottle. Thus, this exhibition grew slowly like a plant and settled in layers like sedimentary stone.
And yet there is an immediacy to the objects, pigments and words on display that challenges the very notion of "out there." Nature is where we all live, and every part of it is interconnected. Even the farthest-flung contributors to this international show are present in this space, at this moment.
- Jordan Eddy, Director
Since 2019, Wild Pigment Project has been a nexus point for the burgeoning global wild pigment movement. Bringing together painters and dyers, ink-makers and ceramicists, researchers, scientists and traditional cultural practitioners to explore pigments found in plants, minerals and the industrial waste stream, Wild Pigment Project is dedicated to fostering difficult conversations about land and cultural histories by exploring what it means to forage for art materials in the era of climate catastrophe and renewed confrontation of colonial racism and cultural genocide.
For the first time, the artists who have made this project possible are exhibited together in a show featuring their work alongside pigment sets that reflect each artist's unique collaboration with foraged and hand-prepared materials. This is a rare opportunity to experience not just the dynamic range of expression possible through these wild pigments, in painting, textiles, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture, but also the behind-the-scenes workings of the pigment-centric studios, fields, forests, vacant lots, kitchens and backyards where these works are produced.
All artists in the show are contributors to Ground Bright, the monthly pigment subscription that supports Wild Pigment Project and generates monthly funding for land and cultural stewardship organizations. Through Ground Bright, the project has raised over $25,000 in reciprocal offerings to land and community organizations, and reached more than 2,000 subscribers in 17 countries.
This exhibit is the result of countless hours of dialog between the pigment practitioners represented and myself, who founded the project with support from my partner, Noelle Guetti. I have formed lasting friendships and conducted extensive interviews with many of the contributing artists about their complex relationships with their foraging places.
These interviews reflect the enormous spectrum of collaboration with pigments currently taking place on the planet, and the emotional, cultural, political and ecological intricacies implicit in the act of bending down and scooping up the body of the land itself. You can learn more about Wild Pigment Project, and explore an archive of our conversations, at wildpigmentproject.org.
l am extremely honored and grateful to the artists for their kind, generous and heartfelt participation in this project, and I am humbled to act as curator for this momentous coming-together of beings-human, elemental, botanical and mineral.
- Tilke Elkins, Curator