As a partner in the fourth edition of Prospect New Orleans, The UNO-St. Claude Gallery will feature the work of artist Jeff Whetstone from Nov. 18, 2017 – Feb. 25, 2018. Gallery hours during Prospect 4 will be Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The gallery is located at 2429 St. Claude Avenue.
The triennial exhibition of contemporary art, known this year as “Prospect 4,” presents the work of diverse international artists in unique and culturally exceptional venues throughout the city and coincides with other celebrations of New Orleans’ tricentennial.
The theme of the citywide exhibition is “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp,” alluding to the city’s unique environmental and cultural landscape as a creative force. Whetstone’s exhibit explores the micro- and macro-economies and ecologies that exist along the Mississippi River near New Orleans. Collectively entitled “The Batture,” the presentation includes a video installation and 16 photographs.
“The batture is the land the river owns. It is a thin strip of weeds, trees and mud between the edge of the Mississippi River and the tall, hardened levees that contain its floods,” said Whetstone. “The batture is ephemeral. It disappears with the river is high and reemerges when the tide falls, swept and changed. It is a cyclical land, untied to human time and unclaimed; a temporary alluvial wilderness.”
Whetstone is currently professor of visual arts at Princeton University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Duke University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University. After being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 for a body of photographs, his work grew to incorporate film. He earned a North Carolina Arts Fellowship in film in 2012 and served as an art professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill until moving to the Princeton faculty in 2015. A previous stint as artist-in-residence with Kentucky non-profit Appalshop allowed him to create several exhibitions about the changing Appalachian culture and landscape. In preparation for Prospect 4, Whetstone has been an artist-in-residence at A Studio in the Woods, located on 7.66 acres of endangered Mississippi River bottomland hardwood forest.
In addition to his presentation, Whetstone will be teaching a course called “Flow: Living with the Mississippi” to Princeton students visiting New Orleans for Prospect 4. Funded by the Princeton Environmental Institute, the course will introduce students to New Orleans’ approach to climate change.