UVaM - University of Virginia Art Museum

Collection

Emmet Gowin
American, b. 1941
Alkali Wash & Dry Watering Hole Near the Very Wide Array, Magdelena, New Mexico, 1988
Gelatin silver print, 14 x 18 inches
Museum Purchase with Curriculum Support Funds,
2004.23

Alkali Wash & Dry Watering Hole Near the Very Wide Array, Magdalena, New Mexico is part of a large body of aerial photographs in which Gowin documents the overlap of human activity with natural processes in the landscape. Far from being stridently polemical, the images reveal the quiet, sublime beauty of these places with an almost empirical approach. Gowin has literally "backed away" from the subject far enough to see the larger view. In this particular photograph, the absence of scale produces a sense of timelessness and transcendence, as if the site could be in a Petri dish or a distant galaxy (a fact highlighted by the title reference to the VLA Radio Telescopes located nearby).