Featuring 31 black-and-white photograph—on view for the first time in a museum—Ken and Melanie Light: Valley of Shadows and Dreams is a photographic exploration of California's Central Valley, a region known for both its agricultural plenty and the marginalization of its people. Through Ken Light's poignant photographs and Melanie Light's insightful essays, viewers discover the harsh truths of the daily experiences of farm workers and their families though an intimate look into the lives. The photographs showcase the highs and the lows of daily life, from the devastating results of home foreclosures to the jubilant experiences of children on the San Joaquin River enjoying the simple pleasures of a rope swing. In the tradition of great partnerships such as the iconic collaborations such as Dorothea Lange and her husband, Paul Taylor, the Lights provide a fresh, contemporary view of both the beauty and the callous truths in this important agricultural region in California.
On view in in OMCA's Gallery of California Art, the exhibition is the first of an ongoing series exploring contemporary topics in California through photography. The second exhibition, Beth Yarnell Edwards: Suburban Dreams (January 19 - June 30, 2013) features large-scale color photographs of domestic scenarios revealing how people behave in their homes. Coinciding with the opening of the new Bay Bridge span, the third exhibition, Peter Stackpole: Bridging the Bay (July 20 - December 2013), features stunning black-and-white photographs o the original San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge construction by one of LIFE magazine's first staff photographers.