Elizabeth O’Guin
Photography & Media

Landscape and Longing is an invitation to experience, to absorb, to desire, and to evaluate our surroundings. The work is about the tangled mix of experience and memory within the landscape and presents intimate glimpses into the natural world. The forest becomes a guide and a home, as well as an object of study. A tree, named Penelope, was my guide. The trees speak, and the mountains are not far behind.

Within my work, I continually investigate the relationship humans have with the landscape and examine my own relationships within the natural world as a starting point. The installation on view reinforces the idea that we are each part of the elements. Our desire to touch, interact, and insert ourselves within the landscape is placed at the forefront of my work. I envision a land that hears us, one in which trees, plants, fungi, organisms, and humans are all participants. We are connected, continually gathering and surrounding.

My process is archival as well as research-based, and there are two important study-areas I keep in mind when making work: the first involves a system of roots below the forest ground—called the mycorrhizal network—connecting all plant life above ground, and that these plants are using those roots to communicate with each other. The second is nature’s capacity to essentially heal us by lowering cortisol levels among other benefits. Keeping this in mind, I encourage viewers to envision a community among the elements, one that we join when entering a given landscape. To be engulfed by romantic notions of landscapes and the thoughts of togetherness. The characters of my work, the people of my memories (both stranger and familiar), enact a narrative to be engaged with. The work encourages the morphing of a shared human experience into a worldly experience, one celebrated by all of Earth’s participants.