Wielding her Deardorff view camera, a mahogany box with a lens on a tripod, Laura McPhee frames the high desert West from Idaho to Utah, Nevada, and California. The 8-by-10-inch negatives that result allow for tremendously detailed images even at large scale. McPhee’s most recent series of photographs were largely made in and around the Great Basin. Simultaneously arresting and serene, they consider dilemmas presented by human interruptions in nature’s balance. We see a petrified tree emerging after half a century from the precipitously dropping water of Lake Powell, made evident by the mineral “bathtub rings” along the base of the cliff. Disturbing truths are explored through McPhee’s lens, materializing as complex compositions with a dynamic conceptual tension.
This show will feature new work by the artist from her most recent series, “Desert Chronicle.” McPhee’s work is found in over 30 Museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Center Museum, SF Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Art Houston, LA County Museum of Fine Arts, Saint Louis Museum, and the Guggenheim Museum.