She wanted to capture these landscapes into vintage suitcases so that you can look at them whenever you want.
Traveling is undeniably a beautiful way to witness the magnificent landscapes of the world. We often feel like capturing these beautiful sceneries in a box and looking at them forever. If we could have that option, we would do that without a doubt. Kathleen Vance, an Environmental Artist, does that exactly. Her Traveling Landscapes series was inspired by ideas regarding personal land preservation and how the rushed pace of travel might be reduced to a moment of relaxation. She uses it to make small landscapes inside antique suitcases and trunks, per My Modern Met.
Vance said, "In first creating the Traveling Landscape series, I was thinking about accessibility to nature and exploring the concept of ‘untouched natural sites.' The idyllic landscapes I sculpted are visual fusions from my personal memories of travels and focus on waterways as a primary element. I consider these a reminder of how precious our natural resources are and how it is necessary to protect these vital elements for life."
The first Traveling Landscapes paintings were made in 2005. Each painting included soil, water and grass, natural to the place shown. Vance added, "It was created as a ’site displacement’ sculpture, in which I removed the soil and plants from a designated stream and transplanted them into a container." Furthermore, she said, "The use of containment in this way led to the idea of travel and transport itself. And the container became a main element in my sculptural language."
The well-traveled style wouldn't come to life if Vance didn't incorporate a diverse range of antique baggage in her work. These enhancements strengthen the message she is attempting to convey to the world. Vance said, "I use primarily vintage luggage for this series as it denotes not only this concept of containment, but travel, preciousness, and possession. I consider each case carefully, investigating its prior history, its owner, and for which type of travel it was designed to be used. All these indicators help to inform the landscape that I create."
Vance reveals that she seeks specific types of personal luggage, especially one-of-a-kind varieties. She said, "I am particularly drawn to train cases and steamer trunks because they act as a metaphor for a slower pace of travel and are a reminder that it was once very difficult to move from one geographical area to another." Vance tries to link people to local parts of nature that are neglected or underestimated throughout her demonstrative collection of work. It establishes new pathways to integrate nature into our daily lives.
She was an artist in residence in Berlin, Germany, where she presented an environmental art workshop in collaboration with the Grunewald Parks Department. Her work has recently been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, the Bruce Museum, VOLTA New York, and the Orlando Museum of Art and EXPO Chicago, per On Art and Aesthetics. Vance explained, "I am currently preparing for an installation of my Traveling Landscapes for EXPO Chicago coming this September presented by ROCKLEMANN &."
She added, "This installation will incorporate multi-stacked rows of found and reclaimed vintage luggage, replicating the look of passenger cargo on a steamship. 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."