rend/er

April 7 - June 12 at the Brigham City Museum of Art & History

Roughly 147 miles west of the Brigham City Museum of Art & History lies one of Utah’s most celebrated works of art — Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels. Located in  Box Elder County, Sun Tunnels is a seminal piece of Land Art, an artistic movement emphasizing place-based works concerned with the relationship between art and its environment. Constructed in 1976, Holt’s four concrete tunnels, each roughly 9’ tall and 18’ long, immerse visitors in the encircling horizon of the Great Basin Desert to contemplate place, presence, and time.

In order to explore this local treasure and its troubled connection to both Utah and digital representation, Salt Lake City artist Kelly O’Neill created the work rend/er

rend/er presents models of the tunnels, 3D printed from collaged photo documentation, floating above playa sand collected on site. Through this work, O'Neill asks, how close can one really get to the tunnels without ever stepping outside? While digitally bringing the tunnels from the desert to the museum reveals them to Brigham City residents who may have not yet experienced or known of them, it also loses something in that translation. rend/er's exacting detail highlights the imperfect distance of digital recreation as each tunnel appears damaged by the pixilation and fragmentation of its forced simulation. This digital corruption, while emphasized in O’Neill’s prints, lingers quietly in all representations of the Sun Tunnels. 

Yet, in this dislocation, O’Neill argues that something has also been gained. 

rend/er asks the audience to not only consider their place and presence in relation to Holt’s project, but to contemplate their own digital experience and the models on which our contemporary understandings of space teeter; exploring the distances between our local landscapes and online presence. In a sense, rend/er re-performs Nancy Holt's own artistic endeavor: attempting to re-frame our relationship between physical and imagined spaces, emphasizing the ways in which these modes of experience diverge, coalesce, and interfere with one another. Reminding us of the forgotten spaces in our own backyards, and the means by which we understand them. 

Image of artist Kelly O'NeillKelly O'Neill first became interested in photography as a senior in high school. He got a film camera and started to explore the medium. Having planned to study science or math, he switched to studying photography. He attended the University of Utah and graduated with an Honors Bachelors of Fine Arts in Studio Art, with an emphasis on Photography/Digital Imaging. Kelly is a local of Salt Lake City where works at the University of Utah. 

He shows locally around Utah and had a one year residency at the Utah Museum Of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) from 2016-2017 as part of their A-I-R Program. He is interested in the western desert, land art, photography, digital culture, and representation.