Laura McPhee: Desert Chronicle

Exhibition Dates: March 7th - April 13th, 2013

Closing reception with the artist: Friday, April 5th, 6:00 - 8:00pm

Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00am - 6:00pm


Bonni Benrubi Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Laura McPhee. Desert Chronicle is built upon McPhee's work in 2010-12 documenting landscapes in Idaho, Utah, and Arizona. McPhee's images are at once lyrical displays of vast desert regions and complex explorations of our role in their ecological fate.

Desert Chronicle will feature thirteen color photographs, in dimensions as great as forty-eight square feet. Made with a large-format view camera, these striking images envelop time, both geologic and human. A serpentine river has cut a deep incision in the land. A gold mine on the edge of the Black Rock Desert has cut a deep incision in the land, exposing its ruddy interior. A still-life from the edge of an alkali flat reveals surprising fragments of human presence -- machine parts, a penny, desert-varnished tin cans, a tiny plastic toy among shards of glass and rust. Collectively, the pictures evoke contemplation of our use of the earth and to what ends -- unintended consequences of humanity's attempts to control and manage nature. A painterly meditation on our material lives, the images depict our paradoxical efforts as we variously protect, alter, and exploit the land.

Born in Manhattan, Laura McPhee grew up in central New Jersey. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design. Her work, which ranges from landscape to still life to portrait, is widely exhibited nationally and internationally. McPhee was awarded a Fulbright Scholars Fellowship in 1998 for work in India and Sri Lanka, and in 2003-05 a residency in Idaho from Alturas Foundation. She was also awarded, in 1995, a New England Foundation for the Arts fellowship, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 1993. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. She is currently a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and lives in Brookline, MA.