Marion Belanger

I photograph the cultural landscape where geology and the built environment intersect, particularly where shifting identities of place and boundaries are in flux.  Boundaries serve as the borderline between knowing and mystery, inside and outside, the contained and the wild.  Similar to the anthropologist, I look for cultural traces of use and evidence upon the land, particularly among the mundane and everyday landscape. There are few grand moments or literal messages in my photographs, and I eschew the idea of the single, perfect image.  I make quiet photographs – the contrast is soft, the palette is muted, and while the subject is often times unremarkable, the conceptual base of my work has consistently been about matters of the earth.  I have photographed the ecological state of the Florida Everglades;  the two land-based edges of the North Atlantic Tectonic Plate along the San Andreas Fault in California and the Mid-Atlantic Rift in Iceland; the restored Naugatuck River where I grew up in Connecticut, and organic farmers in Cuba.  My current work is an investigation into ecological research and the complex relationship that human beings have with our planet.  I pair historical images of agricultural study with photographs I made of climate-change research sites, and the forest itself.  The pairings mirror the strangeness of life during a pandemic, and evoke poetic narratives of our rapidly changing planet.  

Marion Belanger attended the New York State College of Art & Design at Alfred  (B.F.A. 1982).   She lived in New Orleans for almost a decade before attending the Yale University School of Art (M.F.A. 1990).  At Yale she was the recipient of both the John Ferguson Weir Award and the Schickle-Collingwood Prize. Belanger has been honored with a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, two American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowships, a grant from the John Anson Kittredge Educational Fund at Harvard University, an Artist Resource Trust Grant, a Puffin Fellowship, and awards from the State of Connecticut Artist Fellowship Grant program.  She was the 2016 Photographer Laureate of Tampa, Florida and a honoree for the 2017 Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography.  Belanger has attended numerous residencies including MacDowell, the Virginia Center for the Arts, Everglades Artist in Residency Program, and the Studios at MASS MoCA / Assets for Artists Residency.  She is the author of Everglades Outside and Within, with an essay by Susan Orlean (Center for American Places at Columbia College, Chicago 2009), and Rift/Fault, with an essay by Lucy Lippard.  (Radius Books).  Her work can be found in numerous photographic collections, including the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, the New Orleans Museum of Art, Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the International Center for Photography. Her exhibitions include Photography and America’s National Parks, George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY; Permanence/Impermanence, University of Northern Texas Art Gallery Denton, TX; Internationale Fototage: Contemporary American Photography, Mannheim, Germany; Northern (L) Attitudes: Norwegian and American Contemporary Art, The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York, NY; Landscape Perspectives: Highlights from the Photography Collection, Samuel P. Harm Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and Both Sides of the Street: Celebrating the Corcoran’s Photography Collection, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Global Warning: Artists and Climate Change, Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University Center for the Arts, Middletown, CT, among others.  She is a member of the Birthday Club, a feminist collective that originated at the Yale School of Art.  Currently Belanger is working on a permanent installation at the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station. The artist resides in Connecticut, where she was also born.  She teaches at Wesleyan University and the Hartford School of Art.

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