Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation and Art Vault announce 'Lust Severs' curated by Jennifer West

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Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation and Art Vault announce 'Lust Severs' curated by Jennifer West
Jim Campbell, Home Movies, Pause, 2014. Custom electronics (color, silent), LEDs, circuitry, metal, wire, collection of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation.

SANTA FE, NM.- The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation have announced the opening of Lust Severs, an exhibition that explores functional and experiential aspects of technology. Guest curated by pioneering film artist Jennifer West, this exhibition interrogates how the digital tools and physical materiality of technology mediate both bodily sensations and mental conceptions of the world around us. Featuring seventeen artists from the Thoma collection, Lust Severs also includes work by West that directly engages the themes of the exhibition.

Playing to the often-discomfiting collision of the human body, culture, and technology, the title of the exhibition is taken from an auto-correct mistake that changed “list servers” to “lust severs” in an email chain. Spanning from the 1960s to the present, artworks displayed in the exhibition employ digital and analog video, LED sculpture, flatscreens, sculpture, computer-generated imagery, projection, and mixed media.

Evoking themes of obsolescence, reanimation, and the atavistic or even sacred potentials of technology, this exhibition blurs the lines between past and present by bringing together digital media pioneers of the mid-twentieth century with contemporary and emerging artists. As West explains, “I approached the process of curating Lust Severs, from this expansive collection of digital and media-based work, as a techno-archaeologist—foregrounding the rich connections between generations of artists and artworks.”

“Lust Severs represents a new direction for curation and programming at Art Vault. We see this exhibition and our partnership with Jennifer West as setting a precedent for the deep relationships we hope to establish with artists moving forward,” states Holly Harrison, Director of the Thoma Foundation. “We’re also excited to strengthen our relationship to our audience through dynamic programming and sustained community engagement. Jennifer West is the ideal artist to help us initiate this new chapter; her art addresses a broad cross-section of creative communities in Santa Fe and speaks to the intimate relationship between humans and technology that is at the core of the Thoma Foundation Digital & Media Art Collection.”

The Thoma Foundation’s partnership with Jennifer West began as a collaboration with the local, nonprofit publisher Radius Books, which produces high-quality art books. Thanks to a grant from the Thoma Foundation, Radius Books published Jennifer West: Media Archaeology in 2022. This debut monograph brings together nearly a decade of “analogical” experiments in film, sculpture, and installation by one of the most committed artists working on the West Coast today. Saturated in a history of avant-garde and Third World cinema (not to mention HIV/AIDS activism and the incipient riot grrrl movement) since she was an undergraduate at Evergreen State College, West’s work today treads similar ground: challenging the utopianism of new media adoptees as well as the nostalgia of analog-only film adherents.

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