Oklahoma Contemporary
Doty Glasco, Valley of the Sun.
A vertical silk canvas stands in front of a wall with 20 small landscapes hung on it in a grid

New Light

March 24, 2020

#ArtistSpotlight: Doty Glasco

Get to know the artists behind Bright Golden Haze

Doty Glasco (JR Doty and Joe Glasco)
b. New Orleans, LA, 1981; b. Chattanooga TN, 1988
Work on view: Valley of the Sun series

Doty Glasco is the collective moniker of artist duo JR Doty and Joe Glasco. Together they create work exploring the passage of time as a means to engage with nature through a contemporary framework. Working with photography, collage and sculpture, the art of Doty Glasco mines the intersection of their personal history with the politics of landscape, exploring the aesthetic relationship between locations, composition, textures and contexts.

The pair met in graduate school at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2010 and, three years later, began a collaborative team. "We’ve been working together for about eight years now, so we’ve done numerous 'solo' shows together," Joe Glasco said. Their work has been shown across the United States and beyond, at galleries in London, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.

The duo's Valley of the Sun installation, presented as part of Oklahoma Contemporary's inaugural Bright Golden Haze exhibition, represents a new phase in their collaborative practice. In 2014, the artists set out on a cross-country road trip to photograph the American West. Forty thousand miles and 50,000 images later, Doty Glasco had the making for their most ambitious work yet — one that celebrates, questions and complicates our relationship to the land.

An adult stands in front of a grid of 20 small landscapes hung on a wall
A man in a blue striped polo is next to two small landscapes
Artist Joe Glasco

"Go West, young man"

Incorporating archival photographs from an Arizona tourism magazine, Valley of the Sun prompts viewers to consider the historic use of landscape imagery to encourage westward expansion in service of the mythic American West. Their work examines the region's nostalgic quality in our cultural imagination through a delicate play of light, place and space.

"The landscape is so poetic and magical. It's almost foreign to a lot of people," Joe Glasco said. "I think there’s kind of a mythical notion of going out of your comfort zone and exploring these 'foreign lands.' We're showing multiples of each place and deconstructing it over a period of time — double exposures of two landscapes coming together: one fading away and one coming toward you."

For the "windows" and "door" of this room-like installation, Doty Glasco reprinted landscape photos published in the magazine Arizona Highways from 1940 through 1970. The golden tint of these images, printed on translucent silk and reflected in antiqued mirrors, creates a space that is both interior and exterior.

“The idea was to create a sort of room, where you’re looking out into these landscapes. That’s why everything else is white and kind of cut off from the artwork itself,” Joe Glasco said. “I wanted to bring the American Dream home aesthetic back to these images, and look at how the West shaped America after World War II.”

Joe Glasco's connection to the American West is something of a family tradition. He was raised in Santa Fe among a family of artists, including his great uncle who was friends with the likes of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Georgia O'Keeffe. "I've always had a fascination with the West, but it grew deeper and deeper as we started traveling more and living out of a trailer. There’s so many beautiful places in this country, and so many magnificent land formations. It’s become an obsession with us at this point.”

For Reflection:

Image: Doty Glasco. Valley of the Sun installation, 2015. Archival pigment prints of found images on silk, poplar, walnut, mirrors, acrylic medium. Dimensions variable (ca. 11 x 11 ft.) Courtesy of the artist. Photos by Alex Marks.

Photo of Joe Glasco by Dennis Spielman.

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Doty Glasco Joe Glasco JR Doty American West Arizona photography installation art Artist Spotlight

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