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Richard Misrach: 13 Dark Pictures

November 29, 2007–February 5, 2008

32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY


Installation Views

Selected Works

Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present 13 Dark Pictures, an exhibition of gelatin silver and chromogenic prints made over the course of Richard Misrach’s thirty-five year career. The show will feature work from Misrach’s Telegraph 3 A.M. (1972-73), Desert Cantos (1987-present), Golden Gate (2001) and On the Beach (2002-2005) series.

Inspired by the work of Timothy O’Sullivan, Carleton Watkins and Edward Weston, Misrach - a native Californian - first began photographing the landscapes of the American West in 1969. During late-night drives through the desert, Misrach used long exposure times and strobe lighting techniques to create stark, even haunting, images of cacti, trees, rocks and the desert floor.

By hyper-illuminating and overexposing his subject, Misrach encountered unexpected results: shadow areas emerged and highlighted areas receded. The resulting image is distinguished by an ethereal light. This distinctive optical effect, along with the challenge of taking photographs in low-light, encouraged Misrach to continue to push against photography’s technical boundaries.

By paying attention to the way common subjects - a cloud or patterns on water – look in extremely low-light, Misrach allows us to contemplate the simple facts of nature in, quite literally, a new light. Not unlike a luminous Hudson River School landscape painting, his photographs are remarkable, often awe inspiring, displays of nature’s power.

Richard Misrach’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including his mid-career retrospective, "Crimes and Splendors: The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach," organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (1996) and "On the Beach," a traveling exhibition currently on view at The Art Institute of Chicago until November 25, 2007.

Throughout his career, Misrach (b. 1949) has received numerous awards, including four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1973, 1977, 1984, 1992), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1979), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for a Publication (1988), and the Distinguished Career in Photography Award from the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies (1994). The German Society for Photography recently honored him with its Cultural Award for Lifetime Achievement (2002).

Misrach’s photographs can be found in over 50 museum collections worldwide, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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