Sunset in the Yosemite Valley, 2007
lamda print, 48" x 69.7"
Wyer Gallery is pleased to announce new photographs by Henry Carroll, whose work forms a captivating rejoinder to the images of the 19th century US photographers who recorded the American West in all its sublime grandeur whilst, at the same time, allowing notions of Manifest Destiny to lurk ominously within the frame. In "American Places", Carroll presents us with images of America's natural treasures. However, whilst Carroll's photographs appear to present nature's grand spectacles they are in reality images of meticulously produced scale models, which he designs and then constructs in collaboration with model maker Nigel Howlett.
In his most recent work, "Sunset in the Yosemite Valley" Carroll has taken Albert Bierstadt's famous painting of the same name and precisely reconstructed the scene as a three-dimensional model and then photographed it. However, for past works such as, "Big Bob; the World's Oldest Rock" and, "The Deepest Natural Crack in the Earth's Crust", Carroll has worked in much the same way as Bierstadt himself, basing his landscapes on actual places but then exaggerating particular features and playing with our perceptions of scale. Unlike Bierstadt though, Carroll's landscapes are a self-conscious, almost perverse, representation of the modern sublime. He presents nature's grand spectacles but, simultaneously, alludes to the rarity of places in nature left uncharted, and unintruded upon, by man. The scenes bear the monuments and landmarks of global tourism; the geographical features depicted are often named and fenced off or delineated and made safe, exemplifying man's efforts to possess his environment. And by illustrating the burlesque qualities of such places that seem only to exist to be observed, Carroll's landscapes become similar to theatrical stages, which lie empty, awaiting habitation.
Ultimately, of course, these miniature landscapes exist only as images, isolated from the rest of the world, as once the image is captured Carroll's model is destroyed. And the complexity of Carroll's work lies in this sense of duality: the sheer tangibility of the images and the personal sense of knowing his landscapes soon undermined by their implausibility.
Henry Carroll is a graduate of the Royal College of Art. Upcoming projects include Oslo Kunstforening, in Norway later this spring. "American Places" is his first solo exhibition.
Exhibition: 4 May - 2 June 2007
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191 St. John's Hill
GB-London SW11 1TH
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