GLENNA COLE ALLEE
February 1 - March 12, 2022
For her first solo show at CHUNG | NAMONT, artist Glenna Cole Allee presents Hanford Reach, a multi-disciplinary series blending sound, large-scale photographs and a constellation of images exploring Hanford, the Manhattan Project site in eastern Washington State. The area encompasses a decommissioned nuclear reactor reimagined as a museum; multiple nuclear reactors and processing plants in various stages of demolition, entombment, preservation, and active production; abandoned pioneer townships and orchards; and Native American sacred ancestral grounds.
Built upon years of research, interviews, and photographic explorations on the site and along the Columbia river, Hanford Reach interprets nuclear histories and reflects on the idea of collective memory. Glenna’s work is a layered narrative depicting Native Americans who lost their lands overnight, scientists who worked on the Manhattan project, cancer survivors and displaced farmers. Never didactic, her work reflects the individual experience, even when the different voices assert contradictory beliefs.
The alluring power of the photographs seduces the viewer into the stories and examines the relationship between landscape photography and collective history and histories: the ones we remember or document and the ones we forget or deny.
One of the striking aspects of Glenna’s photographs is their allegorical beauty, contrasting with the dark history embedded into the landscape. In their exploration of a tainted history, the large scale photographs emphasize the sublime beauty of the Western landscape: from the grandiose “Columbia River” and expansive “White bluffs” to the anecdotal, closer views of the local pastoral “tableaux” of grazing cows. One could almost forget or ignore the danger of a territory where some areas are closed off in perpetuity for plutonium contamination. As Glenna notes: “There was the constant question of what might rest uneasily buried a few feet, or a few inches, beneath the surface”.