Diana Thater has created pioneering film, video, and installation-based works since the early 1990s. She makes video installations that poetically grapple with threats to the natural world, from the extinction of species to long-lasting environmental disasters such as the nuclear fallout of Chernobyl. Many of the artist’s works take the space where people and animals meet as their subject, exploring the experiences of wild gorillas in a Cameroon park, a wolf trained to work in Hollywood films, a monkey-inhabited temple in India, zebras at an exotic animal farm, and dolphins in the Caribbean. Thater also provides a window onto animal subjectivity through her use of atypical camera angles, dramatic shifts in scale, and colored lights that alter the spectrum of her exhibitions. Adopting cyclical time signatures and extended durations, Thater’s ambient works are abstractions of time which diverge from the linear narratives humans use to make sense of themselves and the cosmos. Whether using floor- to-ceiling video projections, stacks of television monitors, or screens placed flat on the ground, Thater’s installations are site-dependent and subtly change from venue to venue.
Thater lives and works in Los Angeles; in 2015, a comprehensive mid-career survey of her work, The Sympathetic Imagination, was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and later traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.Thater’s work has also been the subject of solo exhibitions at a number of prominent institutions, including: the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2015); San Jose Museum of Art, California (2015); Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2011); Santa Monica Museum of Art (2010); Kunsthaus Graz, Austria (2009); Natural History Museum, London (2009); Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany (2004); Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, Germany (2004); Dia Center for the Arts, New York (2001); and the Secession, Vienna (2000).