Carla Bengtson's current site-responsive projects, situated in wild, domestic, and liminal spaces, create possible/impossible situations in which to attempt interspecies communication. These playful mediations between human nature and non-human culture expand the reach of relational aesthetics to include social relations with other species by introducing images, language, technology, and sound into the umwelts, or lifeworlds, of nonhuman others. In these situations, media act as surrogates for human action - interrogating what might be seen and what might be said between species, while revealing what images and media can and cannot mean and do.
Bengtson has received numerous awards, including a Hallie Ford Foundation residency award, an Oregon Arts Commission grant, an NEA Individual Grant for Artists, and has participated in multiple residencies, including Mass Moca, Djerassi, Ucross, a Signal Fire Outpost residency at the US/Mexico border, and thirteen residencies at the Tiputini Biodiversity Research Station in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Selected exhibitions include Gridspace Gallery, New York; California State University, Stanislaus; Demo Projects, Springfield, Illinois; POP Gallery, Queensland, Australia; JayJay Gallery, Sacramento, California; the Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe; Sanfrancisco Fine Art Fair; Art Fair Miami; RKL Gallery, New York; the Painting Center, New York; the Portland Museum of Art, Portland; and the Holter Museum of Art, Helena, Montana. She has lectured on environmental thought at international environmental philosophy conferences and biodiversity conservation conferences in the US, Canada, and South America. Bengtson holds a BFA from Tyler School of Art, and MFA from Yale School of Art, and was a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program. She is currently Head of the Department of Art at the University of Oregon.