Monday, June 14, 2010

Imprinted on My Eyes

Purgatoire River Site, #2, 1996, Mark Ruwedel; Gelatin Silver Print; Collection of the Artist, courtesy Gallery Luisotti (Santa Monica, CA)

Chocolate Mountains/Ancient Footpath, Towards Indian Pass, 1996; Mark Ruwedel; Gelatin Silver Print; Collection of the artist, courtesy Gallery Luisotti (Santa Monica, CA)

Paluxy River Site, #1; 1994; Mark Ruwedel; Color coupler print; Collection of the artist, courtesy of Gallery Luisotti (Santa Monica, CA)

Klondike Bluffs Trail Site, #15; 1999, Mark Ruwedel; Gelatin Silver Print; Collection of the artist, courtesy Gallery Luisotti (Santa Monica, CA)

Salem, MA ~~ The newest show to open at PEM (the Peabody Essex Museum) is called IMPRINTS, and it is an exhibition of photographs by Mark Ruwedel. It will be available for view until January 1, 2011. This is the first time that PEM has had two photography exhibitions showing at the same time, and is a testimony to its commitment to photography as part of the "art and culture" that it makes available to us all.
These photographs depict two different sets of effects upon the landscape of the American West. The images that will likely have the broadest appeal are those of dinosaur tracks. They are simply amazing, and the more you look at them, and the more you consider that they are there, available to be photographed, makes this show even more amazing. Beyond that fact is the straightforward way these photos interest even the most casual observer, they are also able to delight the visitor who comes more than once to see them.

The other set of photos show the effect of man upon the landscape. Tracks and trails, leading from the photographers point of view off into the horizon, make you think about the effects of humans on all of the earth.
While we were at the press preview, someone asked Mark about why he photographs in the American West, and he put it quite interestingly, by saying that the land there is still so new, and that it is where "the bones of the earth are so much closer to the skin" which I thought was very apt.

I come from the West, and have spent a lot of time in some of the areas he has photographed, and his photos truly capture that feeling that you get, especially if you are able to get far away from the settled areas and into the desert as he did.
Be sure you get your chance to visit these 41 photographs when you visit PEM. You only need to make sure you allow yourself a lot of time to visit this fabulous museum, because there is SO MUCH to see and experience.
I hope to see you here (or there!)
P.S. As you view these photos, and want to know more about them (at the museum) if you look very closely, you will see the description of the locales imprinted very faintly at the bottom of the photos. This was done on purpose, to draw you in to the photo. Be sure you make that part of your experience.

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