November 7th – December 20th, 2013

Longhouse Projects is pleased to present Mary Ellen Strom’s exhibition Stand by Snow, her first solo show with the gallery.

In this exhibition, Strom uses her camera to question the impulse to stand apart from nature. Rather than recognizing human forms and qualities in objects in nature, Strom suggests the need to see those objects as having their own kinds of being and knowledge.  The exhibition includes three works, “Selva Oscura: Drawing of Dead Standing,” “Mary,” and “Tree Lines”, all set in a Lodgepole Pine Forest in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. The trees, infected and killed by the Pine Beetle, are referred to as “dead standing.”

“Selva Oscura: Drawing of Dead Standing,” consists of a two-channel video projected on large pinewood screens. The title refers to the “dark forest” at the beginning of Dante’s canto “Inferno” from The Divine Comedy, commonly interpreted to represent the internal disorientation of the protagonist. One channel shows an overhead shot of the artist drawing thick charcoal lines on a white surface. Once these lines fill the entire frame of the shot, she removes herself leaving a blank spot where she once sat. The second channel pans horizontally through the trees, finally stopping at a clearing in the woods.

The second gallery shows “Mary,” a two-channel video with a score by MJ Williams. Strom uses cinematic language visually, musically and vocally, to stage an elegiac scene. Like a group of actors, the dead trees, are painted and made beautiful again, while simultaneously the narrator’s voice directs the forest with commands such as: “Go wind” and “Stand by snow. Snow go.” 

A new installation, “Tree Lines” is made up of photographic portraits of painted trees. Using these photographs, Strom has created seven line drawings. Each line ranges from three to ten feet in height and together they generate the NTSC video color bar spectrum.  The varying lengths produce an explanatory table of elongated or truncated time. 

Mary Ellen Strom (b. Butte, Montana) lives and works in Boston, MA. This past year, “Mary” was exhibited in the Setouchi Triennial and at Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Aichi, Japan. Strom’s works have been exhibited at Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou-Metz; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; ICA, Philadelphia; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA; Espacio Cultural Contemperaneo, Montevideo, Uruguay; Currier Museum, Manchester, NH, among others. Recent awards include a 2012 International Fulbright Scholar Fellowship; the Bogliasco Fellowship to the Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities; The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke and Andrew W. Mellon Foundations; Artadia Boston: The Fund for Art and Dialogue; the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellowship Prize; Art Matters; and Creative Capital. Strom has participated in many residencies including PS1; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; The International Studio and Curatorial Program; The Headlands Center for the Arts and Bellagio Center Lake Como, Italy funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Strom is on the faculty and the Director of Masters of Fine Arts Graduate Program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.