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High Visibility (Blaze Orange)

High Visibility (Blaze Orange)

by Jaclyn Wright

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High Visibility (Blaze Orange) combines original images, performance, archival photographs and maps to show the impact of late capitalism and settler colonisation on the landscapes of the Western United States. Focusing on Utah’s West Desert, Jaclyn Wright’s work aims to illustrate the struggle between the natural world and its codification by bureaucrats, the visible and invisible and the ironies of fantasies of freedom and nativism on stolen land.

More about this book

Located on the western side of the Great Salt Lake, much of the West Desert, the ancestral home of the Goshute people, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The area is classified by the USF Federal Government as ‘public lands’ yet significant acreage is privately leased for mining and cattle
ranching and nearly one-third of the area is used as biological and chemical weapons testing grounds. The lake is rapidly drying up due to overuse and human-caused ecological change—threatening millions of migratory birds and the population of
Salt Lake City. The remaining areas are open to various uses, including improvised gun ranges.

‘I see this land use as rooted in settler colonial,
patriarchal and capitalist systems that perpetuate ideologies undermining egalitarianism and environmentalism’s goals.’
– Jaclyn Wright

The motif of the colour blaze orange is dispersed throughout the book as a nod to the most conspicuous type of debris found in the West Desert
ranges—blaze orange clay pigeons.

These aerial targets are painted in the highly saturated and synthetic orange, ‘blaze orange,’ to ensure they stand out against the sky on a
clear day and against a natural landscape.  

A colour created to oppose nature, not to be confused with it. 

‘At an historical moment when conversations about ownership and use of guns in America can’t be anything but urgent, polarised and, as a result, intellectually and historically shallow an analysis dependent on historical, ecological, institutional, and personal complexity is valuable. The sheer weirdness of this trash does a considerable amount of work. There is nothing in Blaze Orange that
shrugs and accepts a lack of explanation but the abstract beauty of pierced tin against a horizon shared with nearby Dugway Proving Ground (a secretive military test site and metonym for the militarised background conditions of American life in general), gives us far greater insight into the many relations that make up the gun fetish than any linear narrative or political line ever could.’
From the essay by R H Lossin

Published September 2023
Essay by R H Lossin
165 x 240 mm
192pp, Duotone and 4 colour
ISBN 978-1-915423-02-3

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  • Jaclyn Wright is an American multi-disciplinary artist. Her work incorporates archival images, in-camera collages using a large format view camera, and photographic installations. Wright’s current work critically explores the culture of land use, legacies of settler colonialism, and late capitalism in the American West. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and published widely. Recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include Filter Space (Chicago), Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City), Sabine Street Studios (Houston), and SFO Museum (San Francisco); recent and upcoming group exhibitions include PhMuseum (Italy), SF Camerawork (San Francisco) OCT-LOFT (Shenzhen, China), the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City), the Houston Center for Photography (Houston), amongst others. Her work has been included in the collections at The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL. Wright is a 2023 Utah Visual Arts Fellow and was a finalist for the 2023 Aperture Prize. She is an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Utah and is based in Salt Lake City, UT.

  • ‘I see this land use as rooted in settler colonial, patriarchal and capitalist systems that perpetuate ideologies undermining egalitarianism and environmentalism’s goals.’

    - Jaclyn Wright