L. Parker Stephenson Photographs is pleased to present Rocks: Diptychs, Panels, and Details, our second solo exhibition of work by Gallery artist Ray Mortenson. Mortenson, known for his topographical views of industrial, urban, and rural settings, exclusively devoted this body of work to geological formations. Over a three-year period (2000-2003), he explored several small but notable coastal bedrock outcroppings near Jamestown, Rhode Island. The exhibition will present single images, diptychs, and polyptychs varying in size from 8x10 inch contacts to 9 foot long works. A number are printed in full 1:1 scale. The artist’s personal set of one of a kind hand-made books of prints will also be on view to give further insight into the depth and complexity of this project as will a new publication, Rocks - Jamestown, Rhode Island, 2001-2002. This last is the third in a trilogy devoted to the subject each of which are available for sale at the Gallery.
Mortenson’s mineral views utilize the optical quality of large format film photography to deliver seductive images of abstract and visually complex geological phenomena. Faults and folds of marine shale, veins of quartz striating granite, and other combinations of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic formations are rendered with clear and formal precision. Evocative as well as descriptive, the photographs convey a direct and immediate encounter with the tangible physical environment. With precise detail, subtle shifts in perspective, and rich black-and-white tonalities, the prints materialize a transcendent view of looking at the natural world: Standing on the bare ground, - my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, - all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all . . . – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, 1836
Ray Mortenson (b. 1944) has been exploring the metropolitan corridor of the northeastern United States since the late 1970s. His book Meadowland (1983) was one of the last books published by Lustrum Press. His works are included in the permanent collections of Art Institute of Chicago, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Creative Center for Photography, Cleveland Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art Library, and the Museum of the City of New York, among others. In 2008, the Museum of the City of New York presented a solo exhibition of Mortenson's South Bronx series and the Addison Gallery, Cleveland Museum of Art, Harvard University Art Museums, New York Public Library, Seattle Art Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney Museum at the Equitable Building and others have included his photographs in group exhibitions.
For additional information or to request images, please contact the Gallery at 212 517-8700 or by email at email@example.com