223 Art Building
BFA Kansas City Art Institute
MFA State University of New York at Buffalo
Jeremiah Ariaz is an assistant professor of photography at LSU. His art—including recent bodies of work A Spectacular Fall, Shadow Root, and Envisioning the Land—explores the tension between nature and the consequence of Manifest Destiny’s impulse to dominate the land. He has exhibited, delivered papers, and spoken about his work both nationally and internationally. Work from his recent series, Reconsidering Landscape, was included in the 2008 Focal Press book, Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age. Ariaz received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Following graduate school, Ariaz lived briefly on each coast—in Los Angeles and New York—before settling in the South in 2006.
I’m from a small town in Kansas, a place where the horizon stretches as far as you can see. Though I hadn’t realized it while living there, this landscape affected me deeply. Today, I try to bring an ecological vision to my artwork that explores how we live in place and how where we live affects who we are. I am interested in how we have shaped the land and how the land shapes us.
Some of my projects seek an autobiographical understanding of place while others contemplate the West as a mythical location or even a state of mind. I seek to create a dialogue between the factual and fictional West by exposing the contradictions of the imagined, often romantic, American frontier.
Throughout the development of the United States, the “West” has implied various starting points that stretched to the Pacific Ocean. Once, to be on the west side of the Mississippi River was to be in the West. Some say it is before the Rocky Mountains, in Kansas, where the West begins. It is here where my imagination is rooted, and it is from this vantage point where my artwork began, and somehow, often, still returns.