Bucolic Scenes inside Vintage Trunks: The “Traveling Landscapes” of Kathleen Vance

Kathleen Vance, an “environmental artist” from Brooklyn, mostly creates projects that help people connect with aspects of nature that are overlooked or underappreciated. Her works show an innovative use of vegetation and water, and are set in both indoor and outdoor spaces. She is inspired by the wilderness and seeks locations that seem to be untouched by man.

In her fascinating series “Traveling Landscapes”, Kathleen sets up miniature landscapes inside vintage suitcases and trunks. “The bucolic scenes harken to a place out of time and a romanticism of nature,” she explains, “with lush foliage and flowing streams. These relaxing scenarios consider personal land ownership, water rights and the need for stewardship and preservation of our green areas and water sources. These works bring nature back into ones every day life and the hurried pace of each person’s travels can be slowed to a moment of respite for contemplation and reflection.”

The project gently reminds us that nature is ours – to enjoy, to manage, to take care of. The artist folds up ecosystems and distributes them in diverse multiple boxes to show that the environment belongs to each one of us, whoever we may be.

Kathleen received her BFA from Pratt Institute and her MFA from Hunter College in sculpture. She has received numerous grants and awards for her artwork including: a travel grant to research the geo-thermal regions of Iceland, a grant from the Puffin foundation for public sculpture and a grant from the Brooklyn Arts council which aided the development and implementation of an outdoor community based art project in East New York. Kathleen was selected to participate in ‘Emerge 7’, an artist development program organized by Aljira, Center for Contemporary Art, with the Creative Capital Foundation. She was artist in resident in Berlin, Germany, presenting a workshop on environmental arts in connection with the Grunewald Parks Department in Germany. Her work was recently featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, the Bruce Museum, VOLTA New York, and this Fall her work will be on view at the Orlando Museum of Art and EXPO Chicago.

“I am currently preparing for an installation of my Traveling Landscapes for EXPO Chicago coming this September presented by ROCKLEMANN &,” says Kathleen. “This installation will incorporate multi-stacked rows of found and reclaimed vintage luggage, replicating the look of passenger cargo on a steam ship. Tightly condensed into one large grouping on raised pallets, selected cases are presented with the lids fixed open to reveal depictions of lush landscapes with flowing water.

“Light emanating from the raised lids of the suitcases, steamer trunks and luggage attract the viewer to discover miniature natural scenes of forests, rolling hills, and grassy knolls; active with sound of trickling streams and running rivers. This installation extenuates the desire for ‘untouched’ natural environments, and the claims and proprietorship that are placed on plots of land, which carries over to water rights.”

Links: Website (kathleenvance.com/kathleenart

Images used with permission.