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Wild Pigment Project


Wild Pigment Project
Curated by Tilke Elkins
Mullennix Bridge Gallery, University Art Museum
June 22-September 16, 2023
Opening: June 22, 2023, 5:30-7:30 pm

The University Art Museum is thrilled to present Wild Pigment Project, a group exhibition featuring artists who actively integrate plant and mineral pigments, hand-gathered and prepared in local landscapes, into their studio practice. Wild Pigment Project promotes ecological balance and regenerative economies through a passion for wild pigments, their places of origin, and their cultural histories. The project connects artists to the land by providing resources, education and inspiration to integrate plant and mineral pigments, hand-gathered and prepared in local landscapes, into studio practice.

This exhibition, which originated at form & concept gallery in Santa Fe, NM, is curated by Wild Pigment Project founding director Tilke Elkins and gathers pigments, artwork and stories from people who have engaged with the project since its inception in 2019. It traces the project’s extraordinary path, starting in Elkins’ home on Kalapuya lands (also known as Springfield, OR) and branching out across the world.

Since 2019, Wild Pigment Project has been a nexus point for the burgeoning global wild pigment movement. Bringing together painters and dyers, ink-makers and ceramicists, researchers, scientists and traditional cultural practitioners to explore pigments found in plants, minerals and the industrial waste stream. Wild Pigment Project is dedicated to fostering difficult conversations about land and cultural histories by exploring what it means to forage for art materials in the era of climate catastrophe and renewed confrontation of colonial racism and cultural genocide.

This exhibition and programming is supported by The Mellon Foundation; The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation; form & concept; NMSU College of Arts & Sciences; Friends of the University Art Museum; Mullennix Art Museum Fund; George and Lucy Gray Endowed Art Fund; and several private donors. 

More information coming soon. 

Image credit: Lucille Junkere, From Ancestral Libations - Allegories of Honouring and Remembrance, 2022, Found objects, cotton, botanical and mineral pigments and dyes, 20 x 11 in.

Image credit: Melissa Ladkin, Wirobaliko–follow (Detail), 2022, Ochre on linen, 24 x 24 in.