For Montana Torrey, official histories are at once a provocation and an invitation. Drawn to sites where the past has a tangible presence, she seeks the forgotten or neglected stories of place, opening, as she says, “an oppositional dialogue” with received cultural meaning. In her re-imaginations of architectural space, the past is unmoored from its fixed certainties and allowed to reclaim some of the fluidity and complexity it once had.
She has found a special resonance in the confluence of water and architecture. She explains, “Most recently, my work has explored connections between the built environment and natural phenomena/natural disasters, and specifically those related to water (flooding and rising sea levels).” Many of her installations suggest a sense of weightlessness and floating, like a body buoyed and jostled in a shifting tide that loses its points of reference to the shore. Her work opens up and embraces these untethered narratives seemingly lost to memory, pulling them, at least for a moment, into view.
Montana Torrey is a 2018-2019 N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship recipient. She has had residencies worldwide, including in Thailand, Italy, Estonia, Iceland, and Finland, among others. In the United States, she has been in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Taliesin, and Vermont Studio Center. She won an individual artist grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission (2015). She received her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in Interdisciplinary Art. She makes her home in Durham.