Erin Mallea is a multidisciplinary artist motivated by an attempt to better understand the messiness of the spaces she inhabits. Grounded in a generative research process, her work often focuses on the social and political dynamics embedded within relationships to land and the environment. Erin explores the past and present of particular localities as microcosms and metaphors for larger social, political, human, and environmental conditions. She enacts a methodology of site-specific fieldwork that is analytical, meandering, and playful to amplify and scrutinize taxonomies, cultural memory, and ideology within the American landscape. Contextual, processual, and often public in nature, Erin’s work manifests in a range of artworks including video, sculpture, performance, audio work, writing, and participatory projects. Her practice is deeply influenced by her family history in Idaho and Washington state, who as farmers, miners, and sheep-herders left remote mountains, dust bowls, and what are now ghost towns in response to shifting environmental, economic, and political circumstances. This history sparked an interest in the mythologizing of the American landscape and the cultural dynamics embedded in place.

She has exhibited and produced educational programming nationally. Erin has used a picnic table beside a lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest as a collaborative art-making space, presented a proposal to the Allegheny County chapter of the “Colonial Dames of America” advocating for the ethical memorialization and representation of a historic oak tree, and recently spent the summer with biologists to learn more about land-use in the rural Mountain West. Erin received an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2019.