Sunday, January 21, 2018

Mitch Epstein - Rocks and Clouds

Mitch Epstein's wonderful new bookwork Rocks and Clouds has arrived from Steidl. Following his impressive photobook, New York Arbor published in 2013, Rocks and Clouds further heightens the rewarding experience of close observation. The book celebrates the mystery and wonder that surrounds us all, that is if we can be bothered to look. Potentially this is cliche territory however these quietly intelligent pictures turn the ordinary everyday (rocks, clouds) into the extraordinary and make for a sublime meditative experience.

The viewer is left wondering at our place in the scheme of things. Mankind's insignificance. Notions of impermanence come to mind where the city slips into nothingness against the limitless sky. We are reminded that all of mans feeble constructs will eventually fall to dust and that in our world it's the simple profundities of nature that endure. This work shatters ones sense of certainty. What we take to be familiar becomes the unfamiliar and we are asked to re-evaluate what we take for granted and where is truth.

Rocks and Clouds is published by Steidl and as usual it's a stunning production, an object in it's own right. 160 pages, 70 images,  four colour process,  clothbound in slipcase 29.5 x 36 cm.

Steidl writes: In his new series, Mitch Epstein investigates the meaning of time by photographing rocks that last millions of years and clouds that evaporate before our eyes. These large-format black-and-white pictures examine society’s complex relationship to nature, a theme Epstein has explored in previous work, including his acclaimed tree pictures (New York Arbor, 2013). The way the sky and ground can mirror one another intrigued ancient Chinese painters, as well as modern earthwork artists and the Surrealists, all of whom inspired this project. Epstein draws attention to the sculptural quality of New York City’s clouds, bedrock, and architecture—which, at its most elemental, is made from rock. Cloud wedges engulf a cargo ship, buildings recall constructivist paintings, and erratics are imposing elders in the middle of a park or sidewalk. Rocks and Clouds suggests society’s inability to control time and tame nature. While it seems impossible to make a fresh picture of New York, Epstein gives us a surprising portrait of it.

You can go to Mitch Epstein's website HERE and Steidl HERE.

Pelham Bay Park, Bronx 2014

Clouds #89, New York City 2015

Clouds #94, New York City 2015

Clouds #18, New York City 2014

Clouds #33, New York City 2014

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