Susan Wides - Photographer | Visual Artist - I, Kaaterskill

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this: seasons
I, Manahatta
I, Kaaterskill
Fresh Kills
Mobile Views
The Name of And

The new significance of nature and the development of landscape painting coincided paradoxically with the relentless destruction of wilderness.
Barbara Novak
Nature and Culture: American Landscape and Painting, 1825-1875

When I made Near Catskill Creek [October 15, 2004], which depicts a car graveyard in the Catskill woods, I wasn’t aware Thomas Cole had painted Catskill Creek nearby in 1845. This coincidence inspired the series I, Kaaterskill, weaving a dialogue between an American wilderness idealized by mid-19th century painters and the degraded environment we live in today. When I showed this early work, I paired it with reproductions of the Hudson River School paintings, many made in the same vicinity.

This inquiry into the forces that animate a place is a through-line in much of my work. I’m inspired not only by the historic and cultural influences that vibrate in a setting, but how we gather up these bits of data to form an idea of a landscape—or as Merleau-Ponty writes of Cezanne, to depict “an object in the act of appearing, organizing itself before our eyes.” These words articulate my desire to capture the immersive act of beholding: through manipulations of light and space in my photographs, I seek to slow down the moment of observing so we can see deeply into the meaning of a landscape and contemplate where we are.

Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (New Paltz, NY) 2006