David Maisel/Black Maps, American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime
The exhibition surveys four chapters of the artist’s ongoing body of works and features twenty-eight large-scale pigment prints from four series created between 1989 and 2007, including selections from The Lake Project, The Mining Project and American Mine, Terminal Mirage, and Oblivion. The exhibition leads the viewer on a hallucinatory journey through landscapes in the American West that have been transformed through the physical and environmental effects of industrial-scale water diversion projects, open-pit mineral extraction, and urban sprawl. Maisel’s powerful aerial photographs exist as aesthetic and political archives documenting the impact of both human consumption and inhabitation. More than mere records, these photographs evoke sublime beauty and apocalyptic destruction, positioning Maisel at the forefront of a complex new approach to framing and interpreting issues of contemporary landscape and culture. Maisel’s mineral-based, painterly color prints transform poisonous human-altered landscapes into subjects and objects of extreme beauty while simultaneously unveiling the magnitude of hidden ecological devastation that punctuates the vast interior of the American West, a space that is often represented in the visual, cinematic, and literary arts as endless and eternal.