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Mapping Terroir: Memory & Myth Opening Reception

Please join us for the opening reception of Andrea Caluori's exhibit of original work  "Mapping Terroir: Memory & Myth". 

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Artist's Statement
My approach to this project has been influenced by two perspectives: my experience as a farmer and my work as a printmaker. 

Exploring the Renaissance Center’s rare book collection of agrarian theory and practical manuals resulted in a search for shared experiences with the farmers of the early modern period. What were the motions and moments that defined a culture of growing? More importantly, what were the relationships between human, animal, plant, and place—the relationships that I believe create terroir? I hoped to reconstruct a personal agrarian narrative based on the books’ contents. 

Terroir is defined as ‘expression of place.’ Often used to describe wine, terroir is a reflection of how region, climate, soil, and annual growing conditions translate to the final product in the taster’s glass. It is the nuanced understanding that place, soil amendments, and cultivation practices create distinct character in flavor. This is not only recognized in wine, but in other agricultural products such as cheese, coffee, tea, and vegetables.

This expression of place is not only encapsulated within the landscape’s material conditions, but also in the relationships that define tangible interactions with place. There exists a story narrated through a collection of moments and imagination which informs our relationship with food and taste. These are the quiet moments where the human experience and nature collide and produce flavor. These eight prints are an exploration of how terroir exists not only in the topography of place, but also in the geography of memory and stories. 

The work itself includes printed images created from hand-carved linoleum blocks. These images are reflections of the moments I have experienced in the cultivation of food, as well as the shared connections I imagine to have with those English farmers of the 17th and 18th centuries. Perhaps this is where myth comes into play. I can only guess what hidden stories defined their memory of farming based on the practical knowledge printed in their books. I’m not interested in knowing how they used a plow, or what grafting techniques were common, I want to know how it all made them feel, their impressions, their relationships with animals, land, and plants. (When you’re a humanist artist-farmer, that’s the kind of stuff you’re interested in.)

These prints are an attempt to capture a feeling that exists somewhere between memory and myth, that creates a sense of place, that in effect, goes beyond the borders of terroir in mapping out the flavors of our relationship with the personal moments that define taste, past and present.

Photo credit: Davida Carta