The View From Above/Below

Saturday March 20th, 2021

The View From Above/Below

On View From March 12 - May 2, 2021

With work by Hillary WiedemannCarla Fisher Schwartz, Erika Lynne Hanson

Click here to watch a recording of the virtual artist talk 

With the array of scientific and cartographic data made increasingly available through the public domain, our collective vision has expanded. The immediacy of digital technologies allows us to enter a remote landscape many miles, sometimes even light-years away, while physically remaining at home. Using information accessed through open-source media, such as Google Earth, United States National Park video feeds, and NASA satellite imagery, the work in The View from Above/Below alludes to our desire to extend our own vision, proposing new perspectives for viewing place and space. 

Carla Fisher Schwartz’s work draws upon a practice of virtual exploration in Google Earth, culling street-level views that exploit technical glitches in the service’s 3D modeled map. Drawn from an ongoing collection of scenic compositions found within the map, the work catalogs natural forms as pictured through the simulated environment, with frequent visual dysfunctions often exposing the underlying framework of the virtual representation. 

Erika Lynne Hanson watches public webcams located in US National Parks. The parks present entangled questions of wildness, ownership, cohabitation, and imposed boundaries. For this work, attention is paid to the various temporalities on view through the Arches National Park’s traffic camera: a mountain, a highway, a vehicle, or a traffic cone. Through sitting at a loom, pouring cement, or unjamming a printer, attempts are made to become closer with the inhabitants of this scene. 

With a longing to gaze up at the stars, but an inability to do so in a light-polluted city, Hillary Wiedemann uses imagery sourced online to explore the ever-expanding views of the cosmos. In this recent project, she investigates the particular upset over SpaceX’s Starlink satellites and their visual disruption to amateur and professional astrophotography. Using images sourced from the public domain, she translates the images to accentuate patterns to create a new set of potential constellations.

The work in this exhibition draws upon intuitively human processes rooted in the desire to understand our surroundings near and far, and to explore the unknown. These impulses lead to discoveries that are enmeshed in contemporary systems of surveillance, often resulting in views previously unimaginable, and often not entirely explainable or comfortable. 

Carla Fisher Schwartz is a visual artist and educator based in New Hampshire. Her studio practice investigates the relationship between the mapped image and contemporary notions of exploration, virtuality, and the simulated environment through print media, sculpture and video installation. Her art has been exhibited at venues including the Chicago Artists Coalition (Chicago, IL), the SUBMISSION Gallery (Chicago, IL), the Cleve Carney Gallery (Glen Ellyn, IL), ACRE Projects (Chicago, IL) and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum (St. Louis, MO). Recent residencies include Terrain Residency (Springfield, IL), ACRE Projects (Steuben, WI) and HATCH Projects (Chicago, IL). Schwartz received her MFA in Visual Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was awarded the Bell Cramer Award in Printmaking, and her BA in Studio Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently an instructor at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College.


Erika Lynne Hanson is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and educator whose work is rooted in textile practices. Her projects range from video to participatory public installations that actively engage with the notion of landscape. Currently Associate Professor of Textiles/Socially Engaged Practices at Arizona State University, Hanson received her MFA from California College of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited at spaces such as Form + Concept in Santa Fe, Field Projects in NYC, and the Tucson Museum of Art. Additionally, Hanson has participated in residency programs such as The Icelandic Textile Center, and The Wrangell Mountain Center in McCarthy, AK and received a Frontier Fellowship from Epicenter located in Green River, UT. These experiences support the ongoing dialogue with site-specific ecologies within her practice.


Hillary Wiedemann is a Chicago based artist and arts administrator. She received her MFA in Sculpture from California College of the Arts and a BFA in Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited her work in Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and internationally. She has taken part in residencies through ACRE Projects (Steuben, WI), SÍM (Reykjavik) and Hatch Projects (Chicago). Her work often stems from historical and contemporary scientific inquiry, particularly into visible and invisible spectra, space exploration, and solar oscillations. She is interested in the conflux of science and art, and the interconnectivity of the perception of space, place, and time.