Projects Gallery Artist Jaclyn Wright in her Salt Lake City studio. Watch the Artists in Focus: Studio Visit video now!

Jaclyn Wright: High Visibility (Blaze Orange)

Mar 18, 2022 – Jun 18, 2022

Jaclyn Wright, Blaze Orange, 2022

In High Visibility (Blaze Orange), artist Jaclyn Wright uses debris collected from gun ranges on public lands to explore the intersections of photography, capitalism, and colonialism. Employing original images as well as archival photographs, maps, and diagrams from the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections, Wright investigates the supporting role photography plays in the abstraction of nature, a process that reinforces the codification of land use based on gender, race, and class.

“The first time I visited the West Desert, I unknowingly stumbled upon an unofficial shooting range. The area echoed with gunfire and was littered with bullet holes, casings, large non-biodegradable objects that serve as improvised targets, such as plastic containers, dishwashers, washing machines, and commercially produced targets known as clay pigeons,’ says Wright.  These clay pigeons and their highly saturated “blaze orange” color are the most conspicuous types of debris she finds. The contrast between the synthetic orange and the azure blue sky helps the target to stand out, enabling shooters to track the unnatural target more easily against the natural milieu. Wright uses the visual contrast of the orange and blue as symbolic of larger tensions at play in the work and on the land “the natural/anthropogenic, visible/invisible, material/bureaucratic, prudent/reckless, and sustainable/nihilistic,” said Wright.

As an artist, she is interested in how these dualities are made visible in the recreational shooting ranges scattered throughout the West Desert, the ancestral homeland of the Goshute people, and manifest themselves in behaviors informed by attitudes such as “rugged individualism, and American exceptionalism, that perpetuate colonial ideologies and undermine the goals of egalitarianism and environmentalism.”

Supported by ZAP, and George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.