"In her mixed media collages, Gunlock explores the restless intersection of nature and the built environment.
She depicts trees with rugged branches and burly roots wrangling with residential facades, windows, gates and other architectural features. Gunlock captures a fleeting moment in this struggle, one in which nature and architecture seem to co-exist in a colorful equilibrium, if only for a moment. Gunlock alludes to historical patterns of overshoot, which are marked by excessive demand for natural resources, followed by eras of human decline and the slow recovery of forests and ecosystems. But in these works, Gunlock offers a vision of a hopeful future in which the built environment is woven sustainably into the natural world."
-Al Grumet of Art Works for Change
My work demonstrates a fascination with the collision of the natural and built environments, and it brings attention to Western civilization’s attempts to dominate and manipulate nature. By incorporating photo-collage with decorative papers and colored pencil onto rag paper or panel, I construct landscapes that refer to marking the wild landscape with infrastructure such as mines, oil wells, cell phone towers disguised as trees, and buildings for habitation. The work is a commentary on humanity’s direct impact on the environment, as well as Earth’s interminable shapeshifting over the long history of its existence.
The compositions’ imagery are derived from photographs that I take on my travels. The experience of the places I’ve visited in these photos and what I have learned about the locations’ histories, mythologies, or current ecological issues influence my compositions. For example, much of the work I’ve made in the past decade was influenced by deserted mines in the California desert, wildfires, and unending urban sprawl and its effects on my local wildland. Immersion in a location and the study of it adds thematic content to my work as a whole and contributes to its evolution and maturation.
My intention in my practice is to compel people to take a more mindful look at how they regard the natural world. In a society that is obsessed with ownership, dominion, and essentially dismissal, the work I do encourages people to bring more intimate and respectful attention to the land, plants and animals around them.
Based in Los Angeles, Gunlock has received an MFA at California State University, Long Beach in 2003. A 2022 recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, she has exhibited nationally and in local venues such as Sturt Haaga Gallery at Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Launch LA, and Angels Gate Cultural Center. She has been Artist in Residence at the Joshua Tree Center for Photography in Joshua Tree, California; Cill Rialaig Project in County Kerry, Ireland; Playa in Summer Lake, Oregon; and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming; among others. In 2014-15 Gunlock participated in “Fires of Change,” an NEA-funded collaboration between artists and scientists, to translate the social and ecological issues surrounding wildfire in the Southwest. Following a fire science bootcamp in the Grand Canyon, and a year to complete a project, a group exhibition opened at Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, Arizona in September 2015 and traveled to the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson and 516 Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico.