DAVID MAISEL / BLACK MAPS: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime
February 9, 2013 – May 11, 2013
DAVID MAISEL / BLACK MAPS is a solo show surveying four chapters of Maisel’s larger ongoing series titled Black Maps. Composed of large-scale photographs, this exhibition leads the viewer on a hallucinatory journey through landscapes in the American West that have been transformed through the physical and environmental effects of industrial-scale water diversion projects, open-pit mineral extraction, and urban sprawl. Maisel’s powerful aerial photographs exist as aesthetic and political archives documenting the impact of both human consumption and inhabitation. More than mere records, these photographs evoke sublime beauty and apocalyptic destruction, positioning Maisel at the forefront of a complex new approach to framing and interpreting issues of contemporary landscape and culture. Maisel’s mineral-based, painterly color prints transform poisonous human-altered landscapes into subjects and objects of extreme beauty while simultaneously unveiling the magnitude of hidden ecological devastation that punctuates the vast interior of the American West, a space that is often represented in the visual, cinematic, and literary arts as endless and eternal.
Curated by Lisa Tamiris Becker, Director, CU Art Museum and Helmut Müller-Sievers, Director, Center for the Humanities and the Arts, Eaton Professor of Humanities, University of Colorado Boulder
This exhibition is generously supported in part by the HBB Foundation, the CU Art Museum benefactors and members, the CU Boulder Student Arts and Cultural Enrichment (ACE) fees, and by the Center of the American West. Additional support for the related artist/curatorial lecture and discussion was generously provided by the Center for Humanities and the Arts, University of Colorado Boulder and The Roser Visiting Artist Grant.