Wheat’s work is built on a strong conceptual framework that weaves together commentary on social and political issues and the radical potential for change. Be Oblivion, in Disconnect (2011) is a sculpture and an intervention. Two cardboard boxes house white neon letters that collectively have the potential to spell “Be Oblivion.” The dismembered phrase is rendered powerless in its present state; the potential power lies with the viewer, who could conceivably reconstruct it.
Natasha Wheat’s Kerosene Triptych (2011) is composed of three images, one each from the digital files of the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Field Museum tropical research archive. The original photographs were taken by anonymous photographers, not as art but as documents of the building of the Panama Canal.
Natasha Wheat’s diverse body of work explores social experience as a sensual phenomenon that is riddled with hierarchical complexity. Her objects, installations, and interventions engender and disrupt a full range of interpersonal relations. Wheat was the founder of Project Grow, an art studio and urban farming program based in Portland, Oregon, that employed developmentally disabled adults and investigated the intersection of food, ideology, society, and exchange. She earned her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA with an emphasis in social practice from California College of the Arts.