My work focuses on exploring contemporary and historical intersections of visual culture and socio-political consciousness. It is a hybrid practice that extends drawing to time based, installation, and interactive formats.
My most recent project, Incendiary Traces, focuses on the political nature of representing the Southern California landscape. Conceptually driven and community-generated, it concentrates on landscape as a tool for understanding seemingly remote wars, particularly in similarly subtropical areas where the U.S. is involved, for example, the Middle East, Latin America and North Africa. The multi-year project is devoted to generating dialog and curiosity through creating, researching, collecting and publicly presenting contemporary and historic materials.
To this end, I have been developing a series of site-specific draw-ins and publishing related materials on KCET TV’s online program Artbound. The draw-ins are public events organized around militarized areas in and near Southern California including Northrop Grumman; the U.S./Mexico Border; and 29 Palms Marine Base. The sites are each in some way involved in picturing international conflicts such as developing satellite technologies, embodying national boundaries and simulating distant urban environments to prepare Marines for conflict.
Previous works include As We Go On (2005-8) and The Sleep of Reason (2003) where I compare images and experiences of the U.S. to war zones with drawing, video and animation. The Sleep Of Reason, based on iconic 1991 CNN footage of the U.S. bombing of Iraq, is a looping video projection conflating hand-drawn, digital, and live action images resembling night skies lit by anti-aircraft fire. The increasingly abstract imagery highlights the remote experience of war for most Americans, far from sites of violence. The piece instigated my ongoing focus on landscape as an ideologically charged symbolic field for notions of nationalistic power, wealth, comfort, and security.
Artist Bio / CV
Hillary Mushkin is a visual artist exploring contemporary and historical intersections of visual culture and socio-political consciousness. She works in studio and post-studio forms including drawing, media, and interactive formats. Mushkin frequently collaborates with others from fields including art history, poetry, and architecture. Mushkin's projects have been exhibited at the Freud Museum (London), the Getty Museum (Los Angeles), and White Columns (New York). She has also produced works in alternative contexts including sidewalks, a state park, and the 29 Palms Marine Corps base.
In addition to her artistic practice, she is Co-Chair and Professor of Digital Media Arts and Design at Orange Coast College and Visiting Professor of Art and Design at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), directing a new art, design, science and engineering collaboration initiative. Mushkin received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from U.C. Irvine.