Statement & Bio
I create images and objects about human, animal, and plant interactions in places where these relationships are defining the Anthropocene. Recent projects relate to nuclear waste in the high desert of the western United States, declining bird habitat in the grasslands of the Great Plains, and the effects of climate change on species everywhere. In the work, animals and plants serve as emblems of nature and as metaphors for human desires. I use detail, repetition and patterns inspired by those encountered in the natural world as representational tools while also using mark making to express empathy, loss, and longing. The elegiac elements relate to the overwhelming impacts of human activities and interventions on the landscape and natural systems. What we have taken away or altered can rarely, if ever, be replaced or returned to its original state.
There is such an incredible complexity of ideas tied to the land and species that reside therein, which takes on a particular quality here in the Western U.S., where cultural beliefs related to the hierarchy of species, manifest destiny, and rugged individualism steer many political and social decisions and policies related to the land, humans and animals. I see my studio practice and vision as an artist as a counter narrative to these ideologies.
In drawings and installations, my process is to mimic forms and patterns made by plants and animals – tree rings, concentric lines on seashells, woven grass in a bird nest, fractal patterns on ferns and corals, spider webs, or the meandering line of a snake. This is a way of understanding processes via imitation and representation utilizing the intellectual, visual, and material tools of the artist.
Kirsten Furlong was born in Milwaukee, WI and currently lives and works in Boise, ID. She received a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Nebraska and an MFA in Visual Arts from Boise State University. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions. Kirsten examines the ecological and poetic bonds we have with animals, plants, and insects on lands that we collectively inhabit, through multimedia projects created from the viewpoint of a mixed race (Black/white) woman in the American West.
Recent projects consider nuclear waste in the high desert of Idaho, declining habitat in the grasslands of the Great Plains, and the effects of climate change on species everywhere. In the work, animals and plants serve as both emblems of nature and as metaphors for human desires. Kirsten uses detail, repetition, and patterns inspired by the natural world as a representational tool in drawings and installation works while also using mark making to express empathy, loss, and longing. Kirsten is the director of the Blue Galleries and a lecturer in the Department of Art, Design, and Visual Studies at Boise State University.