MAIN GALLERY: 6.11.08 – 7.10.08
Roving near and far, a group of artists explores one of the most documented subjects in the history of photography: the landscape. And each of them sees it very differently from their predecessors. There is no Ansel Adams in this group. Though some of these image-makers use the same large wooden field camera that Adams did. But man, they kept driving when they saw Half Dome.
Tom Hawkins flew as far as Bonaire, an island in the Netherlands Antilles chain, off the coast of Venezuela. One third of the island is devoted to the harvest of salt, and the huts of the colonial era slaves who worked the salt pans are preserved within the modern salt production facilities. Hawkins’ pictures inform us that sometimes the marks of our cultivation are both beautiful and terrifying.
Local artist Chris McCaw, might as well have gone to the moon to make his “Sunburn” photographs, which are experiments in starting fires inside his camera. Many of the places he documents are familiar to us, Joshua Tree National Park, the Golden Gate, the Marin Headlands, and yet they are transformed into an alien landscape that features multiple suns and often beautifully augmented skies with a streak of a comet burning it’s way across the picture plane, smoke included.
Elizabeth Mellott’s Lovescapes embrace the bittersweet reality of courtship by exposing an atmosphere of melancholy and uncertainty. Intangible landscapes demonstrate a dream-like world and delicate figures, created by ghostly photograms, remind us of the fragility of ourselves. They unfold before us, literally, in the form of tiny accordion books.
Kristopher Stallworth finds himself in Bakersfield, California, after growing up in Austria and Kansas. It could be shock that drives him to document the edge of town that is constantly shifting, as new subdivisions and industry spring up. He hopes to capture the transformation of the land in his series of night photographs called Periphery.
Charity Vargas of San Francisco is another photographer that finds herself out after dark, stalking the changes, some subtle, some overt, in the Presidio in San Francisco.
Clay Harmon, from Texas, read Cormack McCarthy’s The Road, and the next thing he knew, he was photographing the end of the world in his “roadscapes”. And then making giant platinum prints that are so beautiful, that the end doesn’t seem so scary after all.
Melissa Fleming’s work has always been inspired by the natural world. Attracted to the duality of the danger and beauty of the ocean, she began to photograph the waves at night, a time when the ocean feels the most unknown and un-navigable. Waves visualize the power of the ocean and in the black void of night the swirls of white in Sentient hint at that unseen energy we know in our minds to be present.
Noah Beil’s color landscape photographs explore mankind’s modifications of the earth’s surface, questioning whether this reshaping should be considered destructive or decorative.
Hendrik Paul, an MFA student at the San Francisco Art Institute, seeks images where different dimensions meet: where land meets water, where the manmade meets nature or where this world meets the beyond. His passion lies in finding this edge where something ends and something else begins. The viewer finds himself torn between the two worlds revealed in the image.
Pernilla Persson, originally from Sweden, started working on her series, Seasons of Light, as a search for distinguishing things – from leaf to leaf, the moods of colors, forms and motions as well as the impact of Mother Nature through the four seasons. She was astonished to realize that capturing the expressions of the leaves was very much like discovering herself.
At low-tide, Kelli Knack, is at the beach, making her lyrical photographs of the place where the water meets the land. Then she painstakingly hand-colors each gelatin silver print and it’s as if the viewer is standing in the most golden sunrise of their lives.
And last, but not least, K. Features went underground and photographed the most stunning and strange stalactites and stalagmites that were ever formed. Leading us to places indeed that few people, let along an artist with a giant camera, have been before.
Come see this show which embraces every process of photography from platinum and silver prints to c-prints and digital prints and even a combination of the old and new media. This is the landscape revisited. And not one picture of Yosemite, not even close.