Red Dirt Rug embodies the complicated history of our relationship to nature, particularly in my current state of residence, Oklahoma, where human presence has deeply altered the landscape. Oklahoma’s red dirt contains deep geological memory and the memories of indigenous peoples who have lived on this land for thousands of years, the recent memory of tallgrass prairie and bison, the histories of the violent removal and relocation of indigenous peoples to this land, it contains the memory of the plow that would cause the worst man made ecological disaster at the time- The Dust Bowl. It remembers the hopes of settler families marching across the prairie and the trees and crops they planted and it holds the effects of drilling, fracking, and wastewater injection. The epicenter of red dirt is now the epicenter of fracking-induced earthquakes. There is immense beauty and pride in this place and also profound sorrow.
Rena Detrixhe creates contemplative work combining repetitive process and collected materials to produce meticulous, large-scale objects and installations. Recent work explores cultural relations to the land with attention to histories of injustice. Detrixhe has exhibited across the United States and is the recipient of numerous awards including a two-year studio residency with Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri and a three-year Tulsa Artist Fellowship.