Press

PREHISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHS AT PEM

Released June 02, 2010

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IMPRINTS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARK RUWEDEL

ON VIEW JUNE 12, 2010 – JANUARY 1, 2011

SALEM, MA –– This summer the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) presents Imprints: Photographs by Mark Ruwedel –– 41 spectacular black-and-white and color images of dinosaur tracks and ancient human footpaths. The subject of a major book published by Yale University Press and showing now at the Tate Modern in London, Ruwedel’s work is as visually striking as it is conceptually rich, building on concerns raised by “New Topographics” photographers such as Robert Adams, and resonating strongly with artists such as Richard Long and Hamish Fulton.

“For anyone who loves photography, Ruwedel’s photographs are not to be missed. He is the sort of photographer other photographers watch,” said Phillip Prodger, PEM Curator of Photography. “The richness and beauty of his prints commands attention from the start but their jewel-like detail invites repeated viewing. They get better every time you see them.”

In these works, footprints appear and disappear, inexplicably descending into gorges, crossing rivers and circling mountains improbably preserved evidence of peoples and animals long since gone from the earth. The passage of millennia is written on the land, and few can read a landscape as well as Ruwedel, one of the country’s preeminent landscape photographers and an unparalleled craftsman with an eye for geologic time.

OUT IN THE FIELD AND BACK IN THE DARKROOM

mrrWorking in the rugged tradition of Timothy O’Sullivan and William Henry Jackson, Ruwedel captures locations so remote as to be nearly inaccessible. Carrying a large-format camera across deserts and high plains, Ruwedel has explored perilous spots beyond maps and cell-phone signals. Rarely, as depicted in one stunning image, the ideal scene is not farther than the edge of a parking lot where dinosaur tracks wait just outside the perimeter of human activity, visible only to those who know how to look.

Back in the darkroom, Ruwedel develops his negatives, revealing astonishingly subtle details from the foreground to the distant horizon. Among the finest printers working today, Ruwedel pushes the limits of darkroom technique and the physical capacity of the human eye and roving spirit to process all there is to see.

Despite their evident grandeur, Ruwedel’s vistas of the American West transcend documentation of craggy rock formations, wide-open skies and dramatic sweeps of uninhabited land. Far beyond traditional landscapes, the images raise questions about nature, permanence and the meaning of photographic representation.

SPECIAL PRESS EVENT

Members of the press and friends of the museum are invited to an evening of Cocktails & Conversation with photographer Mark Ruwedel and PEM Curator of Photography Phillip Prodger on Wednesday, June 9th from 6:30 to 8 pm.  Please respond to Whitney Riepe at whitney_riepe@pem.org or 978-745-9500 x3228.

EXHIBITION CREDIT
Support provided by ECHO (Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations) and by the East India Marine Associates (EIMA) of the Peabody Essex Museum.

IMAGE CAPTIONS (TOP TO BOTTOM)

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)

UPCOMING PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITIONS AT PEM

§         Marianne Mueller: Archive

§         Ansel Adams: At the Water's Edge

§         Helen Levitt: In a New York Minute

§         The Mind's Eye: Fifty Years of Photography by Jerry Uelsmann

§         Walker Evans/Samuel Chamberlain

§         Masahisa Fukase: The Solitude of Ravens

§         Jo Ractliffe: Document

 

ABOUT THE PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM

The Peabody Essex Museum presents art and culture from New England and around the world. The museum's collections are among the finest of their kind, showcasing an unrivaled spectrum of American art and architecture (including four National Historic Landmark buildings) and outstanding Asian, Asian Export, Native American, African, Oceanic, Maritime and Photography collections. In addition to its vast collections, the museum offers a vibrant schedule of changing exhibitions and a hands-on education center. The museum campus features numerous parks, period gardens and 22 historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.

HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

ADMISSION: Adults $15; seniors $13; students $11. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang.

INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit our Web site at www.pem.org. 

 

PR Contacts:

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Manager of Public Relations  -  978-745-9500 X3228  -  whitney_vandyke@pem.org

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