Erika Blumenfeld

Artist and Guggenheim Fellow who approaches her work like an ecological archivist

Artist Erika Blumenfeld at her Rauschenberg Residency in 2018. Photo by Mark Poucher.

Erika Blumenfeld is an internationally exhibiting artist and Guggenheim Fellow with a BFA in Photography from Parsons School of Design. Since 1998, Erika Blumenfeld has approached her work much like an ecological archivist, and has created photo-based and video-based works through the study, witness and documentation of the wondrous natural world.

She joined Cape Farewell on the 2011 Scottish Islands Expedition and exhibited work in Cape Farewell’s Carbon 12 and Carbon 13 exhibitions.

In her Light Recordings series, the artist works with solar and lunar light as both medium and subject, developing her own cameras and processes to directly record the subtle incremental changes that light makes throughout our daily and yearly astronomical cycles. During her residency in Antarctica she initiated her work, The Polar Project, using both lens-less and lens-based cameras to document the atmospheric phenomena that occur on the ice continent, from the ocean beginning to freeze to the sun’s rays acting upon the prismatic surface of the vast ice fields. In her recent documentation of the Gulf oil catastrophe, she returns entirely to the traditional camera to document the shadow side of humanity’s impact upon the natural world.

Blumenfeld’s work has been exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the US and abroad, including the Albright Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York), Ballroom (Marfa, Texas), DiverseWorks Art Space (Hous- ton, Texas), Fargfabriken Norr (Ostersund, Sweden), Galerie der Stadt Mainz-Bruckenturm (Mainz, Germany), Hertfordshire University Galler- ies (England), Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo, Norway), New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts (Santa Fe) OCA (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Oregon), Stadtgalerie (Kiel, Germany), Willem de Kooning Academie (Rotterdam, Netherlands), and TATE Modern (London), among many others.

Blumenfeld has received grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the Land Rheinland-Pfalz Kultusministerium, and the Polaroid Corporation. She was Ballroom Marfa’s inaugural artist-in-residence, and was awarded a Special Editions Fellowship from the Lower East Side Printshop.

She has been awarded rare opportunities to create her work in non-traditional studio environments. In 2001, she worked on a Bioluminescence project with Latz Laboratory at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography. In 2004, the artist worked on a video piece documenting a full lunar cycle at the McDonald Observatory. In January of 2009, Blumenfeld went to Antarctica for a month as the artist-in-residence of ITASC (Interpolar Transnational Art Science Constellation) and SANAP (South African National Antarctic Program).

Her work has been featured in Art in America, ARTnews and Camera Arts magazines, and appears in the books Photography: New Mexico published by Fresco Fine Art Publications (2008), The Polaroid Book (2005, 2008) published by Taschen. The artist’s recent work from Antarctica appears in the book Arte Da Antartida (Art from Antarctica) published by Goethe-Institut (2009), in which Blumenfeld’s essay “What is White” is also included.

Blumenfeld’s work is in the permanent collections of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Lannan Foundation, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, The Polaroid Collection, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the University of Texas.

Carbon 13 exhibition
Carbon 12 exhibition
About the 2011 expedition

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