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Ann Diener

The Invented Land

As a fourth-generation descendant of a Southern California farming family, Ann Diener has a deep connection to the land and is fascinated with its continual state of change. Several years ago, while visiting her late grandparents’ farm, she was struck by how abruptly and significantly this land had changed. No longer was she able to recognize her old haunts or familiar landmarks; the crops and trees were gone, the roads were reconfigured, and fertile farmland was covered in a shroud of industrial farming operations. The fields she explored as a child have since been transformed into a tessellation of suburban development, a sprawl of quotidian Southern California tract homes, strip malls and gas stations. Those fields that remain are farmed by large conglomerates-often owned by private equity firms in faraway places. Seeds are scientifically engineered, and food is grown on massive stretches of land or in enormous greenhouse structures. Technology remains as intrinsic to California’s agricultural future as artificial intelligence and the innovations of Silicon Valley. The ecosystems this technology generates is at the core of her work, resulting in intricate architecture and stunning complex visual landscapes.

The paramount issue of California agriculture is water. California built the greatest agricultural machine in history, employing technology to grow food in massive amounts to feed the world’s growing population largely by controlling where water flows. However, this approach has dealt overarching environmental consequences, primarily water shortages caused by overuse, flooding, soil erosion, and subsidence. The adaptation of industrial agriculture to a changing climate represents a metaphor for climate change on a larger level. A changing climate requires judicious use of water, rehabilitating depleted soil, rotating crops, planting cover crops, and growing in places that were previously unsuitable for farming. With her drawings, she attempts to demonstrate this complex, evolving landscape, telling the story of these topics of inequality, water, and the vicissitudes of climate change through the complexities of modern-day agriculture.


PST ART: Art & Science CollideGetty Pacific Standard Time 2024 Preview event

Saturday, August 3 at 2 PM | Located at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History

Featuring an Artist Talk and Book Signing with Ann Diener and Debra Scacco

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