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  • ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ by Owen McCarter

    Owen McCarter (b.1998.) is an artist living and working in Western Massachusetts. His photographs have been exhibited in The Berkshire Museum, The Norman Rockwell Museum, and galleries across New England. He recently completed his BFA in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design.

    The project’s title, “Et in Arcadia ego”, is a reference to Nicolas Poussin’s moralized landscape painting of the same name. Poet Théophile Gautier describes the piece, “The picture of the Shepherds of Arcady expresses with a naïve melancholy the brevity of life and awakens among the young Shepherds and the girl who look at the tomb they have found, the forgotten idea of death.” Arcadia and its pastoral ideals present a moment of discovery, the idyllic landscape broken by the inevitability of death. Our method of rendering landscape has shifted away from pastoral romantics into a new type of melancholia. Contemporary photographic representations of the environments use epic scale to describe a world irrevocably damaged by humanity. It is my intention to play against these conventions. To show my home as more than a classified waste site. In my practice, I work collaboratively with my community to visualize a reciprocal relationship to the space we inhabit. The river, as a site of ongoing remediation, is uniquely positioned to speak not only of environmental disaster, but of hope for the future.