Andrew Ranville’s show of work created on Rabbit Island is now open at the DeVos Art Museum on the campus of Northern Michigan University. The exhibition is curated by museum director Melissa Matuscak and will be on display until December 14th. This represents the inaugural annual show of work produced by artists on Rabbit Island.
The accompanying exhibition catalog contains discussion of Ranville’s work by the artist as well as essays contributed by curator Melissa Matuscak, art historian and writer Nadim Julien Samman, and Robert Gorski. A limited edition handmade catalog with laser-cut hardwood binding has been created to celebrate the Rabbit Island + DeVos Art Museum collaboration. More information on this edition of 50 will be available soon. Below is a .PDF version of the text.
Just as John Donne reported his discovery—that “no man is an island, entire of itself,” but “a piece of the continent, a part of the main”— so could Thoreau announce that “the smallest stream is a Mediterranean sea.” In the particular, macro potential is revealed. Comprising just 90 acres of undeveloped land surrounded by 31,700 square miles of water in Lake Superior, Rabbit Island is a utopian attempt to colonize our imaginations. In establishing this project the artist Andrew Ranville and his collaborator Rob Gorski stake their claim to an ancient Western cultural tradition—one that invokes the island topos to negotiate relationships between the real and the imaginary, utopia and dystopia, selfhood and otherness, center and periphery. In so doing, the Rabbit Island residency also deploys the trope of the shipwrecked sailor, separated from his contemporaries, who must make the world anew. How the world is (re)made—which elements are to be carried over from the past and which are to be discarded—constitutes the moral or political import of productive isolation. - excerpted from the catalog essay Future Islands by Nadim Julien Samman