Overlook: assorted viewpoints en plein air

Adam Forrester

“The video works that comprise Overlook: assorted viewpoints en plein air are explorations of our shifting relationship with the natural world. In The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein writes, “I like a view, but I like to sit with my back turned to it.”

In Turn Your Back on Nature (2018), a pair of videos featuring various interventions within a landscape are presented, i.e., the sound of an idling car and the click of a camera shutter. At the same time, as a performer en plein air, I take on mundane tasks while disregarding the grandeur of the surrounding landscape. In an era in which we often cannot look away—from our screens, from our catastrophes—turning our backs on a striking view could be seen as a method for refocusing on the internal, an avoidance of a different kind of distraction. At the same time, disregarding (overlooking) our natural world carries its own shortcomings.

Set in the natural landscape of a north Georgia forest, Obstacle #273 (2016) gestures toward futility that often arises in contemporary life. As a performer en plein air, I set out to overcome a natural obstruction. After multiple attempts and multiple failures, I turn my back and the cycle continues.”

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Adam Forrester is an artist, filmmaker, and writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. His work has been screened and exhibited nationally and internationally, most notably at the Historic Center of Kalamata in Greece, Bunkier Gallery of Contemporary Art in Poland, Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago, Soap Factory in Minneapolis, Stove Works in Chattanooga, and as part of the 2021 Atlanta Biennial at Atlanta Contemporary. His film and television work has won an Emmy (Southeast), been distributed via PBS across the US, and screened at DOC NYC, New Orleans Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest and elsewhere. Forrester’s writing has been published in Drain Magazine, The Airgonaut, and The Baltimore Review.