Guardians of Solitude
Bonni Benrubi Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by photographer Laura McPhee. "Guardians of Solitude" is built upon McPhee's work from her 2003-2005 "River of No Return," series consisting of studies of the landscape and a small rural community in a remote region of central Idaho: Sawtooth Valley. "Guardians of Solitude" celebrates the unsurpassed splendor of a fabled region, while also presenting the environmental complexities of managing a vast landscape in which the needs of ranchers, biologists, miners, tourists, and locals seek a finely delineated balance. In images spanning all seasons, McPhee depicts the magnificence and history of the Sawtooth Valley in central Idaho. This new body of photographic work presents queries about our contemporary notion of the utopian American landscape -- what it was and what it will become. Panoramic in its scope, the photographs examine conflicting ideas about landscape in America and scrutinizes our values and beliefs about the natural world. The nature/culture dilemma is endlessly complex and these images describe this kaleidoscopic; a fragmented, and contested relationship, within one place and among one group of people. Photographer Laura McPhee follows in the tradition of 19th-century artistic approaches toward the sublime, relying on a large-format view camera to capture images of exquisite color, clarity, and definition. Rooted in the work of Carleton Watkins and Frederick Sommer, McPhee has taken the traditional genre of landscape to it's contemporary self both in medium and content.