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Janet Biggs: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

In 2009 and 2010, Janet Biggs traveled to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard with a crew of artists and scientists to document the changing Arctic landscape. As the subject of centuries of exploration, the Arctic was once seen as indifferent to human enterprise, so vast and inhospitable as to be immune to any imposition. Today, scientists expect climate change to leave Arctic summers ice-free as early as the next decade, and Svalbard, located halfway between Europe and the North Pole, finds itself at the epicenter of this metamorphoses. Using footage compiled on her voyages north, Biggs explores this history and the alarming consequences of human enterprise in three videos: Warning Shot (2016), Brightness All Around (2011), and Fade to White (2010). Shown together, these works are a clarion call for a heroic landscape that will completely transform within our lifetimes.

Janet Biggs: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape is organized by the Barry Lopez Foundation for Art & Environment. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Barry Lopez Foundation works with contemporary artists to organize exhibitions addressing climate change, biodiversity, habitat loss, and our relationship with the land in a time of environmental crisis.

About the Artist

Janet Biggs is a research based, interdisciplinary artist known for her immersive work in video, film and performance. Biggs’ work focuses on individuals in extreme landscapes or situations, navigating the territory between art, science and technology. Her work has taken her into areas of conflict and to Mars (as a member of crews at the Mars Desert Research Station and Mars Academy USA). Biggs has worked with institutions from NOAA to NASA and CERN. She has collaborated with high energy nuclear physicists, neuroscientists, Arctic explorers, aerospace engineers, astrophysicists and a robot named Shimon. Recently, Biggs sent a project up to the International Space Station as part of MIT Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative.

In addition to videos, her work includes multi-discipline performances, often including multiple large-scale videos, live musicians, athletes, and artificial intelligence.

Biggs has had solo exhibitions and film screenings at the Spencer Museum of Art; Boca Raton Museum of Art; Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre and the Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos de Tenerife; Neuberger Museum of Art; SCAD Museum of Art; Blaffer Art Museum; Musee d’art contemporain de Montréal; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Tampa Museum of Art; Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art; and the Mint Museum of Art; among others.

Her work has been featured in the First International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena, Colombia; the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, France; Vantaa Art Museum, Finland; Linkopings Konsthall, Passagen, Sweden; the Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Austria; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; Museo d’arte contemporanea Roma, Italy; and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan.

Biggs is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the 2018 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, the Visionary Woman Award, the Electronic Media and Film Program at the New York State Council on the Arts Award, the Arctic Circle Fellowship/Residency, Art Matters, Inc., the Wexner Center Media Arts Program Residency, the Anonymous Was a Woman Award, and the NEA Fellowship Award.

Her work is in collections including JPMorgan Chase, New York City; La Collezione Videoinsight®, Turin, Italy; Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC), Languedoc-Roussillon, France; Zabludowicz Collection, London, England; Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa; Barry Lopez Foundation for Art & Environment, Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL: the High Museum, Atlanta, GA; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC; and Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, NC.; and the New Britain Museum of Art, New Britain, Connecticut.

Janet Biggs is a member of The Explorers Club and the New Museum’s cultural incubator, NEW INC with the support of Science Sandbox. Biggs works with Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York City; Analix Forever, Geneva, Switzerland; CONNERSMITH, Washington, DC; Hyphen Hub, New York, NY;  Galerie Anita Beckers (Blink Video Art), Frankfurt, Germany.

Janet Biggs: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape is made possible with support from Visual Technologies. The Everson is supported by the Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation; the General Operating Support program, a regrant program of the County of Onondaga with the support of County Executive, J. Ryan McMahon II, and the Onondaga County Legislature, administered by CNY Arts; and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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brightness all around

Janet Biggs
Brightness All Around (video still), 2011
Single-channel HD video with sound, 16×9 format, running time 8:36
Courtesy the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York

fade to white

Janet Biggs
Fade to White (video still), 2010
Single-channel HD video with sound, 16×9 format, running time 12:28
Courtesy the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York

janet biggs

Janet Biggs © Katja Aglert

janet biggs