Michael Light, Shadow at 300', 1300 hours, Deep Springs Valley, California; 2001, 40 x 50 in., pigment print, edition of 10
Michael Light is a self-described photographer and bookmaker based in Northern California. Over the last two decades Light’s work has been focused on “the environment and how contemporary American culture relates to it.” A Guggenheim Fellow, his work has been exhibited globally and is held in major museum collections. Beyond the exhibition of his work, Light has published six books of his photography, including large-scale artist books.
This exhibition will present an integrated examination Light’s work and will feature the premiere of new work commissioned by the Palo Alto Art Center. Included will be examples of Light’s aerial examinations of the varied landscapes of the American West, along with selections of earlier archival projects exploring the moon exploration of the Apollo and Gemini missions (Full Moon), and the photo archive of atmospheric (above ground) US nuclear testing between 1945 and 1962 (100 Suns).
Light sees his work as an exploration of landscape. By using an aerial perspective he is able to heighten awareness of the juxtaposition of what we consider to be “natural” versus the “manmade.” Our current time period has been designated by many scientists as the “Anthropocene Epoch” – the tail end of the geologic Holocene Epoch–defined by the mark making of human beings since the Industrial Revolution on the permanent geologic record. Light, with his imagery of man-made deserts, strip mines, and the lush lawns of suburbia bracketed by sand and rock, shows us that what we consider “the landscape” is now completely beholden to human influence.
Works will be presented as photographs and extremely large-scale artist books. Series represented will include LA Day/LA Night, Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain, 100 Suns, Some Dry Space: An Inhabited West, and Full Moon. This exhibition is guest curated by Sharon Bliss.