Zoe Keller

Alaska Studies

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Alaska Studies

These eleven small studies were created during a two week artist residency at the Wrangell Mountains Center in McCarthy, Alaska. This tiny town is situated in the middle of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the United States’ largest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each still life includes specimens from the Wrangell Mountains Center’s natural history collection, arranged with mushrooms and plant clippings collected around McCarthy. These drawings serve as personal visual records of the plant and fungi life present in one very specific place at one very specific moment in time, and hint at the vibrant mammalian, ornithological, invertebrate and geologic elements of the surrounding ecosystems. By its nature, this work required that I spend time exploring McCarthy. Looking back at my residency, the moments that shine bright in my memory are not those spent in my studio drawing, but those spent tripping over rocks and branches to collect tiny, fragile mushrooms, pine cones and pebbles. In searching for subjects for this series, I became a more diligent observer of the landscape, combing the ground each morning for the arrival of new fungi or progressions in the life cycles of flowering plants. Although I didn’t always know exactly what I was drawing, this mode of working bound me to this landscape in a more emotional way than reading alone would have done.

All eleven studies were included in my 2017 solo show "Studies & Stories" at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis, MN.

Study V, Graphite on Paper, 5.25" x 8"

Study V, Graphite on Paper, 5.25" x 8"

Study VII, Graphite on Paper, 4.25" x 5.25"

Study VIII, Graphite on Paper, 4.25" x 5.25"

Study X, Graphite on Paper, 2" x 3"

Study II, Graphite on Paper, 5.25" x 8"

Study III, Graphite on Paper, 5.25" x 8"

Study V, Graphite on Paper, 5.25" x 8"

Study VIII, Graphite on Paper, 4.25" x 5.25"

Study IX, Graphite on Paper, 3.125" x 4.25"

Study XI, Graphite on Paper, 5.25" x 8"