Joianne Bittle is an artist whose work addresses the practices of field observation, scientific research and learning as simultaneous actions in different dimensions; the role of chance occurring between non-human and human consequences; and how the evolution of time impacts a landscape. Together through the process of painting and sculpture, individual works are constructed about imagining the physical self inside animal suits and their environments. Bittle has had solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, as well as several publications and museum diorama installations at The Queens Museum, Georges Centre Pompidou-Metz, gfzk Leipzig, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Wavehill Bronx, Churner and Churner, The Emily Harvey Foundation NYC and Binder Gallery Marfa, Texas. Bittle’s recent installation “Cosmorama” was included in the group exhibition “May You Live in Interesting Times” as part of the 2019 Venice Biennale. She received her BFA from Indiana University, Bloomington, with continuing studies in the Earth & Life sciences. She is currently faculty in the Humanities and Sciences Department at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Referencing geology maps and books in the library, I discovered there are certain “unconformities” throughout the Everglades, so I started out in the field with a camera (Dec. 2016). In the AIRIE lab, I created 12 large-scale pencil drawings and a set of small drypoint etchings on zinc plates titled “Members of the Colony.” Each drawing has a central character, a protagonist or creature in its own story. On the drawings are daily field notes and text fragments mapping out a process of learning about the water system and endemic species. Following my residency, I was invited by the Centre Pompidou-Metz to build a human-scale diorama of a re-imagined swampland titled “Mangrovama” for the exhibition “Jardin Infini” (2017). The painting and foreground elements were built together on-site in France following my AIRIE residency. My preliminary drawings, research and photographs from the Everglades were the driving force for this installation and are now an archive for that work. Currently, I am working on a group of six paintings titled “Mutatis Mutandis” (2018-present). Each painting references a specific experience in a different environment and contains memory-fragments from my time in the Everglades. One painting involves a life-changing encounter I had with two snakes and an alligator on Old Ingraham Highway!
– Joianne Bittle