Kaitlin Bryson works at the intersections of art, community, ecology, and social justice to create works that reframe concepts of decay while elevating the experience of transformation.
Santa Fe | kaitlinbryson.com | @kai.t.li.n
Queer ecological/bio artist Kaitlin Bryson recalls childhood days spent in Reno, Nevada, where she would cultivate a garden and create landscape paintings with her paternal grandmother. By age ten, Bryson developed “an alarming clarity about becoming an artist,” eventually earning her MFA in art and ecology from the University of New Mexico.
Years spent farming, exploring social justice issues, and working with diverse communities influenced her expansive view of the world—one in which multispecies collaborators create and sustain environments that counter apathy and individualism while elevating inclusion and alternate ways of knowing, learning, and being in the world.
The Santa Fe–based artist uses bio art, fiber, sculpture, video, social practice, performance, and immersive installations to foster conversations about environmental, climate, and social justice. Themes she addresses include food sovereignty, fracking, clean water, habitat restoration, and more.
For her new Bellow Forth project (2022-present), Bryson has been holding story circles in Las Vegas, New Mexico, with community members who want to share favorite memories of their lands. Select excerpts will become part of an ecological artwork designed in part to replenish damaged soils and support reforestation on lands impacted by wildfire. “Like a lot of my artwork, it’ll be buried in the ground instead of hanging on a gallery wall.”
Soon Bryson will be working with Submergence Collective, an art and research group she co-founded in 2019, to address the possible dual extinction of the piñon pine and its fungal partner in New Mexico using a community science approach that includes making zines, germinating seedlings, and more.
“There are so many metaphors in that world,” Bryson says of the fungi and other organisms that live outside our view. “I hope people will consider the ways ecologies, systems, and histories might be reorganized through the process of decay and begin to think about how these multispecies agents are initiators of those processes.”