Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From Here to There

© Alec Soth, Sara, 2009

The Walker presents the first U.S. survey of the work of Alec Soth, one of the most compelling voices in contemporary photography, whose offbeat images of everyday America form powerful narrative vignettes. Featuring more than 100 photographs made between 1994 and the present, the exhibition includes examples from Soth’s well-known series Sleeping by the Mississippi and Niagara, a selection of rarely seen early black-and-white work, and a broad range of portraits. Also on view is the Minneapolis-based artist’s newest series, Broken Manual, exploring places of escape in and individuals who seek to flee civilization for a life “off the grid.”

Working in a photographic tradition of road photography established by such figures as Walker Evans, Robert Frank, William Eggleston, and Stephen Shore, Soth captures stunning large-scale color images often using a cumbersome 8x10 field camera, with an eye toward finding overlooked beauty in the banal. His curiosity, penchant for research, and openness to serendipity in seeking out subjects have all become hallmarks of his working process. The wanderlust embodied in Soth’s work is an impulse to uncover his own versions of the narratives that comprise the American experience. His images offer insight into broader sociologies while forming an unexpected portrait of the country.

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