THE Magazine: Extended Passage of Time

THE coverExtended Passage of Time:
through Saturday, January 18, 2014

Las Cruces Museum of Art,  Las Cruces. 575-541-2137
Reception: Friday, December 6, 2013  from 5 to 7 pm

New Mexico is home to more than its fair share of otherworldly places — the looming cliffs of Ghost Ranch in Abiqui, the conical Tent Rocks formations near Jemez Springs and, of course, Roswell. But White Sands National Monument in Turarosa Basin is beyond otherworldly — when standing among the cool, snow-white dunes, watching the subtle shifts between sand and wind, light and shadow, time itself becomes an element of the landscape. Santa Fe-based photographer Gunnar Plake capitalizes on this sensation in the his White Sands photographs.

To create his Accelerated Landscapes, Plake moves his camera during exposure, infusing his photographs with motion, and enhancing the viewer’s perception of color. Plake describes the result as a kind of deconstruction, images that lie somewhere between abstraction and representation. In his Parabolic Dunes, now on view at the Las Cruces Museum of Art, a breath of gold sweeps across the undulating sands, and mountains rise mirage-like in the background. There isn’t a focal point for the eye to catch hold of, and although the viewer may momentarily long to see the elements of the image with more clarity, the final vision is somehow more true to the soul of the place and our perception of it. Plake writes that while taking photographs of White Sands, which has been in existence for two hundred and fifty million years, his quest is to “visually pay homage to such an extended passage of time.”

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