Landscapes Great & Small:
An update for the 21st Century…
The exhibition brings together work by Richard Alan Cohen, Linda Megathlin, Lisa Redburn & Suzanne Révy to present an updated look at landscape photography against current concerns, and climate change. The work was selected with a thought to updating how we define the genre, which landscapes we chose to celebrate, which to remember, and how landscape photography has evolved since the time of Carleton Watkins, William Henry Jackson and more recently the work of Ansel Adams, who’s work typically defines the popular notion of what landscape photography should look like.
Landscapes Great & Small, the first in a new exhibition series, is being presented in tandem with Thirteen Hours to Fall, by Margaret LeJeune in the Focus Gallery
Any look at landscape photography undertaken in 2023 to survey current practice can’t help but cross paths with issues of, and work more directly focused on Climate Change. This exhibition embraces this reality, with a realization that landscape photography has always incorporated ideas of conservation.
“I believe the approach of the artist and the approach of the environmentalist are fairly close in that both are, to a rather impressive degree, concerned with the ‘affirmation of life.’ … Response to natural beauty is one of the foundations of the environmental movement.”
Environmental protection was one of the aims, or purposes of landscape photography from the very beginning, stretching all the way back to Carleton Watkins and William Henry Jackson, who’s early photographs were instrumental in the protection of the Sierras, and the designation of Yellowstone as the first national park. Ansel Adams’ very first portfolios were made to preserve, in photographs, a land under threat, to preserve a view that might not be available to future generations or to bear witness for those not present… either by distance or time… these early portfolios were instrumental in winning approval for the system of National Parks we have today and the preservation of land for future generations.
This exhibition brings together together a selection of work from four photographers exploring landscapes in this new millennia. These are not the grand landscapes of Ansel Adams, nor a showcase of the vastness of the American West or the abundance of this land. We are presenting a more personal imagining of what remains to be experienced and pondered of our natural world in 2023. While the show presents a decidedly East Coast view of, and concerns for the land, the themes, their approach, and the concerns driving the work presented apply no matter where you live and work. Most of the work, clearly shows the mark of human civilization on the land while others deal more directly with climate change and the scarcity of open space. Large or small, public land or just a square foot in your backyard, there is much to be gained in celebration of the natural world which we all depend on for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. Hopefully this collection of work serves to wake some action to preserve, even if only photographically, or grow your appreciation for what remains of the land that supports us and recognize landscape photography as that ‘affirmation of life.’
– David DeMelim
Landscapes Great & Small: An update for the 21st Century…
(landscapes… beyond Ansel Adams)
Opening Reception: May 18th, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., part of Gallery Night Providence
Exhibition on View: May 18th – June 9th
Presented in tandem with Thirteen Hours to Fall, by Margaret LeJeune in the Focus Gallery
Richard Alan Cohen
Artist Statement: Climate Falls
Some search for landscape vistas; I seek elements of the landscape within overlooked natural details. I am privileged to live near extraordinarily beautiful forests in western Connecticut and Massachusetts where I take daily hikes through woodlands past secluded streams. Cascading waters maintain life – rushing, breathing, aglow between the boulders. Growing over the tumbling rocks, the moss is fresh and varied. These images reveal small, hidden, enchanted waterfalls, but I have provided a larger, up close perspective to emphasize their importance to us. Although dream-like, they are real places that are not immune to the influences of global warming. In “Climate Falls”, I ask the question, “What happens when a magical refuge is imperiled by climate change? What will become of the solace that we now find there?” By intentionally making these landscapes otherworldly by augmenting their scale and light, and by envisioning the risks caused by thickening clouds, gathering smoke, and advancing fires, I aim to draw attention to their fragility. By picturing the implied threat at this precarious moment, I hope to increase respect for nature so that it might be preserved.
– Richard Alan Cohen
Richard Alan Cohen grew up in Portland, Maine, and attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick where he co-majored in art and science. Having always maintained an interest in art, he has now transitioned from a 40-year career in cardiovascular research to being a full-time fine art photographer. The aspects of discovery (now of subject, light, and color in the field) as well as the imagination and creativity involved in the development of the concept of each image (now in editing and printing), are very similar in the two careers, with many of the same rewards. Richard has exhibited his photographs in numerous solo and group shows at venues including 555 Gallery, Panopticon Gallery, the Griffin Museum of Photography to name a few.
Artist Statement: Rising Seas
Climate change is nothing new, although the projections and realities of its devastating impact become more apparent every day.
For this project, I decided to stay close to home and focus on projections of sea level change and 100-year storms for Bristol County, RI, where I live. Bristol County, which includes the municipalities of Barrington, Warren and Bristol, Rhode Island is projected to be especially hard hit by sea level rise because of its location at the head of Narragansett Bay. In short, there is nowhere for surging seas to go except over land and, in many cases, that land is densely populated.
My goal was to present the scientific projections in an artistic manner that would draw people’s attention, but also help educate the public about the need to plan for likely flooding of low lying areas, as well as the need to take steps to mitigate climate change to lessen the impact to our coastline and communities.
At this writing in 2021, three feet of inundation accompanied by “king” or “moon” tide inundations of up to five feet are expected by 2050, less than 30 years from now. Up to 10 feet of inundation is expected by 2100.
Driven by climate-linked sea level rise, the risk of storm-drive coastal flooding is increasing. 100-year storms — storms that have a one-in-100 chance of happening in any given year — are expected to happen more frequently and could send a 15-foot surge of water up Narragansett Bay that would wash over low lying areas in Bristol County’s three communities at any point.
Although based on science, the images I created are a compilation of maps, images of projected inundations, photographs I took of the Bristol County shoreline and an artist’s imaginings and ideas about how to visually communicate the concept of projected sea level rise and expected 100-year storm flooding in Bristol County.
– Linda Megathlin
As a photographer and mixed media artist interested in themes of transformation, my work gravitates toward finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, the universal in the commonplace. Creating photographs and mixed media compilations from objects and natural elements we see every day, my focus is on the layers of meaning beyond the surface, surprise couplings and unconscious revelations.
Though I began my art career as a traditional black-and-white news and event photographer, currently I work primarily with abstract digital photography transfers and mixed media collage on non-traditional substrates such as wood, metal and stone papers. Recent subjects have included the concept of literal and figurative possessions, still life arrangements, winter trees, metaphorical landscapes and the ethereal nature of water. Most recently, I have turned my attention to an artistic interpretation of projected sea level rise caused by climate change in Bristol County, Rhode Island.
Artist Statement: Zenscapes & Folds in Time
My Zenscape images are minimalist. One is immersed in the landscape, yet untethered from time and place. Lost in a meditative moment, taking a deep breath in, and letting it out. The expansive skies and water surfaces read like the syllables and spaces of a haiku.
In Folds in Time, I am moving my photography into a new dimension, folding time and place into a three-dimensional solid.
It began with stone: rock faces fascinate me with their stories of folded and layered time. Wherever I go, I always come home with photos of stone: huge striated red boulders tumbling toward the sea in Nova Scotia, eerie black moonscapes of solidified magma in the Galapagos, fossilized sea creatures in a glacial moraine in Patagonia, rich yellow lichens growing on stone slabs in an Icelandic seaport, intricate green patterns on sea stacks in Oregon, jagged rock faces welcoming me to Deer Isle in Maine, rocks symbolizing mountains in Japanese gardens. I love the colors, textures, patterns, and the sheer physicality of time that I see in stone. I yearned to get these photos off my computer and do something more physical with them. First I made small prints and played with different ways of grouping them. Then I started to make an accordion book, but it felt too linear: there were too many ways that I wanted to group them. I needed to find a 3D form of some sort.
I chose to use a dodecahedron because I like how regular and earth-like it appears, and it is the Platonic solid said to represent the universe. With 12 intersecting planes, it would allow me to explore multiple relationships at once.
– Lisa Redburn
Much of my photography is about ambiguity and the passage of time — the intersections between what was, what is, and what might be.
I delight in reflections that draw me into an ephemeral upside-down world; odd or tender juxtapositions that I happen upon in nature or create at home; plant material that I collect and float to create moving “water tapestries”; and visual conversations between inside and outside, organic and manmade, one time and another. I also like creating a further level of relationships between images by grouping them in conversation in diptychs and triptychs. Sometimes I use intentional camera movement or in-camera multiple exposures to create intentionally ambiguous or more impressionistic work.
Recently I’ve begun to play with creating intersections between old and new work, using my printed photographs to create something new. Instead of just looking at flat images, I am physically handling and manipulating my photographs. Folding and balancing old prints and getting really close with a macro lens allows me to create light filled sails and architectural spaces. Destroying old prints by using them to collage enables me to let go, abstract parts from a whole, and create an entirely new image. Collaging onto a window adds another layer of meaning as my inside and outside wolds intersect. Experimenting with 3D forms adds new facets to the idea of the photograph. This work is tactile and intuitive, and I’m traveling backward and forward in time, as I create new relationships between places and experiences in my life.
Artist Statement: A Murmur in the Trees
The forest flutters between life, death and rebirth; it bears witness, as it has for centuries, to the earth’s delights and traumas. Trees feed each other through vast networks of roots that resemble the airways of human lungs. Their canopy protects saplings who yearn for sunlight as the soil underfoot breeds microscopic nutrients. Sources of water rise and fall like the pulse in circulatory systems, yet the eternal rhythms of the forest and the span of our lifetimes are eons apart. With this work, I seek to explore the distinctive cadences between our brief existence and the vast geological scope of the natural world.
Since 2018, I have been experimenting with polyptychs in my work. I find that multiple-panel presentations imply passages of time, and create dialogs between space and form. I scrutinize the fields and rivers once home to the indigenous peoples who lived and toiled on these lands, examine the former battlefields of the American Revolution, and wander in the footsteps of the 19th century transcendentalists in and near Concord, Massachusetts. I have discovered surprising patterns and details in the overlapping frames of my pictures where leaves, rocks or snow and ice can echo with metaphor, myth and memory.
As a portrait photographer, focusing my camera on the landscape has been an unexpected and fruitful turn. The visual threads in my pictures reflect on physical, psychological and spiritual meanings of familiar environments. I find myself looking for figurative gestures in the trees or streams and in the man-made imprints upon the land. I wish to impart a tenor of solitude, to convey a reverence for the enduring yet threatened ecosystems that sustain us and to draw parallels between the cycles of nature and human history
– Suzanne Révy
After graduating from high school in Los Angeles, Suzanne Révy moved to Brooklyn, NY and earned a BFA in photography from the Pratt Institute where she was immersed in making and printing black and white photographs. Following art school she worked as a photography editor for U.S.News & World Report magazine in Washington, DC and later as acting picture editor for Yankee magazine in Dublin, NH. With the arrival of two sons, she left the world of publishing and began to make pictures of her children, their cousins, and friends rekindling her interest in making and printing black and white pictures in a traditional wet darkroom. While pursuing her MFA, she anticipated the imminent departure of her children, so she turned her attention to the mundane in a series of mobile phone images featured in A Certain Slant of Light. This led to an interest in making landscape diptychs and triptychs using medium format and color film in a new series titled A Murmur in the Trees.
Her work has been shown at the Newport Art Museum in Newport, RI, the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA, the Fitchburg Art Museum in Fitchburg, MA, the Danforth Art Museum, and the Garner Center Gallery at the New England School of Photography among others. She teaches at Clark University, is the Associate Editor for the online magazine What Will You Remember? and serves on the Board of the Photographic Resource Center in Cambridge, MA.
Révy lives with her family in suburban Boston, MA.
Landscapes Great & Small: An update for the 21st Century…
a look at landscape photography through a the lens of Climate change in 2023
Opening: May 18th, 5:00 – 8:00pm
Exhibition: May 18th – June 9th
Presented in tandem with Thirteen Hours to Fall, by Margret LeJeune in the Focus Gallery
The RI Center for Photographic Arts, RICPA 118 N. Main St. Providence, RI 02903
Located in the heart of Providence, RICPA was founded to inspire creative development and provide opportunities to engage with the community through exhibitions, education, publication, and mutual support.
RICPA exists to create a diverse and supportive community for individuals interested in learning or working in the Photographic Arts. We strive to provide an environment conducive to the free exchange of ideas in an open and cooperative space. Members should share a passion for creating, appreciating, or learning about all forms of photo-based media. We work to provide a platform for artistic expression, that fosters dialogue and drives innovation in the photographic arts.
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The Gallery at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts is a member of Gallery Night Providence https://www.gallerynight.org
Questions: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org To learn about other RICPA exhibits and programs, visit https://www.riphotocenter.org