Jenny Yurshansky (day + night)

Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory (Audio Guide), 2018 - ongoing
15 minutes
Audio Guide via SoundCloud, lightbox with duratrans print

As you are driving between various installed works stream this audio guide to listen to recordings of California’s blacklisted invasive plant species, many familiar to you, which you will see during your journey. Follow this link to listen as they recount their capricious experiences in settling here: https://soundcloud.com/jenny-yurshansky/sets/drive-by-art 

The accounts speak as much to these plants’ precarious place in California’s landscape as they are also the stories of the state’s human migrants. It is important to remember that these species arrived as companions to humans and their activities. The dates these so-called aliens came here correspond to the eras of colonial imperialism, manifest destiny, globalized shipping, and successive waves of multi-ethnic immigrant laborers. The narratives explore the themes of migration, national identity, and the disputable function of political borders. These voices encourage us to reflect on the botanical landscape as one that is cultural. Many thanks to the talented humans who have channeled these florae for our ears.

Artist Statement
My work is deeply informed by my experience as a refugee who was born stateless. Using material and critical parameters defined by a conceptual and research-based approach, I explore the trauma of displacement by interrogating notions of belonging and otherness through site, historical traces, and social constructions, often formally manifested as absence, loss or erasure. My work includes writing and working with a variety of materials such as cast, slumped and found glass, welded and charred steel, MDF manipulated to simulate antique display cases, embroidered textiles, hand-cut paper silhouettes of plants, laser-etched granite, and photographic installations. I have been connecting my work on the losses experienced by refugees and migrants to ecological collapse and the climate crisis. These subjects are all intertwined, and it is only through dealing with our political and environmental issues systematically can we hope to find solutions to these exponentially increasing problems.

Biography
Jenny Yurshansky received her MFA in Visual Art from UC Irvine and was a post-grad in Critical Studies at the Malmö Art Academy. In 2020 she had a solo show at Harvard-Westlake and will have a solo show at American Jewish University. She will also be the first Artist-in-Residence at Bemis and has been awarded the Light On Travel Fellowship. In 2019 Yurshansky received the City of Los Angeles Artist Fellowship along with an exhibition at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. She had a solo exhibition at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, and was part of the exhibition “A NonHuman Horizon” at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. In 2018 Pitzer College Art Galleries published her artist book and she was an Artist-in-Residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, along with being part of the 2018-19 Mexicali Biennial. In 2016 she was an Artist-in-Residence at Arts Initiative Tokyo. In 2014 she was the first Artist-in-Residence at Pitzer College Art Galleries followed in 2015 by her solo exhibition as part of the Emerging Artist series curated by Ciara Ennis. In 2015 Yurshansky was also a Guest Artist Researcher at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, which she concluded with a solo show. In 2010 she was the first international artist awarded the Maria Bonnier Stipend from Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm.