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Landscape of Hope and Despair

  Linda Gammell & Sandra Menefee Taylor..... 

Artist Statement

We are a collaborative team who, since 1989, have been working with rural women
and rural issues. We believe the link of rural and urban relationship, as well as our
bodies to the land, is crucial to change the way farming and health are performed and
how consumerism is managed.

Our issues address rural identity, stereotypes of rural women, and most recently, rural
women's importance in the social, spiritual, and political movements of sustainability
and food. We have conducted numerous workshops with rural women in the Midwest,
where conversations with them were recorded and photographs were made (by us and
the women). Our research has resulted in three artist's books, exhibitions, installation
art, and a video about sustainable production and eating of our food. Our concern is
that women's part in rural culture is invisible.

About "Landscape of Hope and Despair"

(SE Section 9, Township N, Range 21 W of the 5th Principle Meridian 160 Acres):
"Landscape of Hope and Despair" 1989 (with historian Jo Blatti)

The book tells the story of a rural crossroads community and an adjacent family farm in
Bath township, Freeborn County, Minnesota, from the 1940's to the present. Eighty
acres of the family farm were lost to foreclosure in the 1980's. The book combines
photography and oral history to explore memories of the area as it is and was.
Accompanying quotations from other sources provide additional context on
contemporary farm issues. Produced with a fellowship from the Jerome Foundation–
Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

These were created during the "farm crisis" in the late 80's when long-term farm
families were losing their land to bank foreclosures. These were times when farmers
and farm histories were being lost to suicide and bankruptcy. Many foreclosures were
not because of poor financial managing by farm families, but by bank practices which
resulted in whole families losing land that had meaning beyond just money.

We believe that art should be connected and have social relevance.

Sandra Menefee Taylor – Book Artist and Installation Artist

Sandra teaches independent workshops and makes guest appearances at seminars
and conferences. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from The Minneapolis
College of Art and Design.

Linda Gammell – Artist/Photographer

MFA    1979    University of Minnesota
BA       1972    University of Minnesota

Recent Teaching
Adjunct faculty, College of Visual Arts, St. Paul, MN, present; associate professor,
The Minneapolis College of Art & Design, 1981-99

Selected Honors
Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, 1997, 1986, 1980
SARE Grant, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farmer's Daughters Project, 1995-97
Arts Midwest NEA Fellowship, 1989

Selected Recent Exhibitions
2000    Artists' Books: Visual Literary Expressions, Northcutt Steele Gallery, Montana   

             State University Billings, Billings, MT
1999    The Farm Show, Legion Arts Center, Cedar Rapids, IA
1998    Women in the Weisman Collection: The Spirit of Seneca Falls, Weisman

             Museum, Minneapolis, MN
1998    Prairie Photographs, Giddens Learning Center Gallery, Hamline University, St.

             Paul, MN
1997    Focus on Photography, Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota,

             Minneapolis, MN
1996    Midwest Photography Invitational IX, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, WI
1995    Landscape, New York University, New York, NY

Selected Collections
Minnesota Historical Society
George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Museum of Art, Grand Rapids, MI
Weisman Museum, Minneapolis, MN