Throughout her childhood, Maryssa Chavez joined her grandfather on long walks through the New Mexico wilderness. He loved pointing out to his nieta that this place was an ancient seabed, a history that imbued the vistas with oceanic grandeur and severity. When Chavez began quilting the multifaceted family portrait that appears in this exhibition, she chose the deep blue of the cyanotype to evoke the poetry of this inherited paradigm.
From a largely first-person perspective, under a rock, along the shore is about the eye and body's interactions with swiftly changing landscapes of the 21st century. It is keenly concerned with the craft of photography; through a dazzling array of processes and techniques, these artists plunge us into visual and tactile, cultural and political experiences of the Desert Southwest and other corners of the world.
-Jordan Eddy, Gallery Director
Contemporary photography is embroiled in a protracted reckoning with the demise of the grand vista. The landscape genre has always been a vector for notions of power and control, whether that reflects on what the artist possesses, what they desire or what they fear. The practices of photographers featured in under a rock, along the shore abandon these entrenched ideas of expansive views in favor of focusing on the specificity of place. They challenge popular visualizations of the natural world as unblemished and untouched, captivating and capturable.
Macroscopic views of the landscape appear in Will Wilson's aerial interrogations of abandoned uranium mines on Navajo Nation, while Daniel Hojnacki's cosmic darkroom explorations utilize the physically tangible materials of soot and paper to communicate ideas about the intersection of land, body and material. Dakota Mace and Justin Guthrie complicate this idea further, as they confront personal experiences of Indigeneity through intimate imagery that investigates the violent legacies of colonization in the Southwest.
Moving towards haptic experience, Emily Margarit Mason and Julia C. Martin craft new worlds through minute details, as Martin's intimate, root-focused tree portraits pair with Mason's composed, re-photographed assemblages to present familiar worlds in new and potentially hopeful ways.
While under a rock, along the shore remains rooted in photographic history through process, participating artists push the boundaries of what a landscape photograph can say, what stories should be included, and how the genre is represented. These works force us to lift up the proverbial rock to see what's underneath, to examine the dirt and the moss that's accumulated and to consider the implications of showing what has previously been unseen.
- Delaney Hoffman, Co-Curator
This exhibition was co-curated by Jordan Eddy, Isabella Beroutsos and Delaney Hoffman, with additional contributions from Marissa Fassano.