Installation with video and sound, 2008
Essay excerpt from the exhibition booklet for Ruminations and Pontifications:
"As viewers cross the threshold into the Sheehan Gallery, they are greeted by a cacophony of melancholic, mechanical mooing.
John Feodorov's most recent installation, Unherd, juxtaposes recurring themes: nature, spirituality, landscape, and the office. The office and the factory farm coalesce in an environment that is eerie, maudlin, and yet somehow still humorous. Corralled in office-like cubicles, spindly, wooden, mock-cow forms watch images of grass in which they will never gambol. The cows, painted in traditional Navajo colors (black, white, blue, and yellow), reference Feodorov's Navajo heritage, adding a further dimension to the work. The drone of bovine sounds within the cubicle pasture places the cows, and the implied office worker, in an inescapable Sisyphusian task, never completed or satisfying. Written with obsessive repetition on the cubicle walls, the phrase 'You Are Here,' makes viewers aware of the sequestered spaces within their own lives where they may feel permanently stuck. The herding into small confined spaces thus becomes linked with processes of corporatization and colonialism. The rotating novelty noise-making devices that give voice to Feodorov's creatures will eventually lose their capacity for sound. The complex symbolism of this inevitable silence indicates the short lives of factory farm cows, the lost voices of displaced peoples, and the endless futility of pushing paper from cubicle to cubicle."
Kristen Hutchinson - Professor of Visual Culture, Whitman College.