Richard Misrach’s “On the Beach” at the High Museum in June

Richard Misrach at the High Museum in June
© Richard Misrach

From the High Museum's press release:
The High Museum of Art will host a nationally touring exhibition of 20 large-scale photographs by Richard Misrach, a recognized pioneer of large-format color photography. Best known for his images of the American desert, he recently began capturing monumental images of the ocean, sunbathers and swimmers. “On the Beach” marks the largest exhibition of works from this series ever to be on view together. The exhibition was organized by the artist in conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago, where it debuted in September 2007. “On the Beach” will be on view at the High from June 6 through August 30, 2009.

“Misrach is one of the most important photographers working with color materials, and a pioneer in large-scale printing. These monumental pictures are both playful and intensely contemplative,” said Julian Cox, Curator of Photography at the High. “Misrach’s photographs remind us of our place as humans in a large natural landscape. They have the capacity to elicit the kind of emotion produced by the strongest pieces of artwork: wonder, respect and even a sense of unease with the world as is.”

In 2001 Misrach began this series of large-scale lushly colored photographs of swimmers and sunbathers in Hawaii. Working from a hotel on the beach, he adopted a floating viewpoint that eliminates all reference to the horizon or sky, recording people wholly immersed in the idyllic environment. The photographs, which are vast in scale and viewpoint, coax the particularities of nature into ethereal, nearly abstract patterns of color and light. Yet despite their compelling beauty, an oblique sense of disquietude pervades the photographs. Begun in the days immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, the series was made over a five-year period and speaks to the sense of physical and psychological vulnerability that pervaded the nation’s consciousness at that time.

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