The Department of Visual Arts and Design is extremely proud to present Dornith Doherty: Archiving Eden, which will be on view at the Clyde H. Wells Gallery of Art at Tarleton State University from January 12th through February 7th, 2023. For the last 15 years, Texas-based photographer Dornith Doherty has traveled and photographed the spaces and contents of seed banks around the world.
In the images that make up the series Archiving Eden, Dornith has constructed a visual meditation on the planet’s botanical diversity by focusing on the remarkable aesthetics of seeds and the places constructed to conserve biodiversity. Collaborating with renowned biologists and supported by a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship, Doherty initially began photographing the seed vaults to examine the role of seed banks and their preservation efforts in the face of climate change, the extinction of natural species, and decreased agricultural diversity. Locations in the series include the United States Department of Agriculture; Agricultural Research Service’s National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (Colorado); the Millennium Seed Bank (England); PlantBank; Threatened Flora Centre and Kings Park Botanic Gardens (Australia), and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Norway). Speaking about her process Dornith explains: “Utilizing the archives’ on-site x-ray equipment that is routinely used for viability assessments of accessioned seeds, I document and subsequently collage the seeds and tissue samples stored in these crucial collections. The amazing visual power of magnified x-ray images, which springs from the technology’s ability to record what is invisible to the human eye, illuminates my considerations not only of the complex philosophical, anthropological, and ecological issues surrounding the role of science and human agency in relation to gene banking, but also of the poetic questions about life and time on a macro and micro scale.” Dornith will be giving a free, public lecture about her work combining art and scientific research in the Fine Arts Theater at Tarleton State University on February 7th at 3pm.
ARTIST BIO: A 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Dornith Doherty is an artist working primarily with photography, video, animations, works on paper, and scientific imaging. Her work reflects upon poetic questions about life and time through artworks created at the intersection of art and science.
Doherty was born in Houston, Texas and received a B.A. cum laude from Rice University and a MFA in Photography from Yale University. She currently resides in Southlake and is Distinguished Research Professor at the University of North Texas. In addition to the Guggenheim Fellowship, she has also received grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the United States Department of the Interior, the University of North Texas, and the Houston Center for Photography. She has been an artist in residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto/Ontario Science Centre, the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, and Joshua Tree National Park. She received the Honored Educator Award from the Society of Photographic Education South Central in 2012 and, more recently, the Texas Legislature named her 2016 Texas State Artist 2D. Doherty’s work has been featured in exhibitions widely in the US and abroad at institutions including the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX; the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX; the Centro de Fotografía, Tenerife, Spain; the Chapter Art Centre, Cardiff, Wales; the Encuentros Abiertos Photography Biennial in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis, IN; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN; the Museum Belvédère, Heerenveen, the Netherlands; the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM; and the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Canada; among others. She has been invited to present scholarly papers and artist talks at over 80 institutions and conferences worldwide, including a TEDx lecture in 2013. Doherty’s work has been featured by American Way magazine, Harvard Business Review, Hyperallergic, National Geographic, New Yorker: Photo Booth, Oxford American Journal, Oxford Literary Journal, Smith Journal Australia, Smithsonian Magazine, Texas Monthly, Tomboy Tarts, Vice, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Wired magazine, among others.