Mary Lang: Here, nowhere else

September 4-29, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, September 6, 2019, 5:00-8:00 pm
South End Open Studios Weekend: Saturday & Sunday, September 21-22, 2019 11:00 am-6:00 pm

  • Mary Lang

    Early morning fog, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA, archival digital print, 20 x 30 inches, 2019.

    Early morning fog
  • Mary Lang

    Spider web, Rail Trail between Northampton and Hadley, MA, archival digital print, 20 x 30 inches, 2018.

    Spider web
  • Mary Lang

    Birds, winter, Purgatory Cove, Auburndale, MA, archival digital print, 20 x 30 inches, 2018.

    Birds
  • Mary Lang

    Behind the pump house, the Cove, Auburndale, MA, archival digital print, 20 x 30 inches, 2019.

    Behind the pump house
  • Mary Lang

    An Torr, view of Bidean nam Bian, near Glen Coe, Scotland, archival digital print, 20 x 30 inches, 2017.

    An Torr
  • Mary Lang

    On the road to Lusketayne, Isle of Harris, Scotland, archival digital print, 20 x 30 inches, 2017.

    On the road to Lusketayne
  • Mary Lang

    Hike to Borrego Palms, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA, archival digital print, 15.75 x 23.5 inches, 2019.

    Hike to Borrego Palms
  • Mary Lang

    Soccer net and backyards, late summer, Auburndale, MA, archival digital print, 20 x 30 inches, 2019.

    Hike to Borrego Palms
  • Mary Lang

    Dusk, late summer, my backyard, Auburndale, MA, archival digital print, 13.75 x 15 inches, 2018.

    Dusk

Artist Page
Press Release

Artist Statement

These photographs are the visual records of a sentient being, standing on the earth, sensitive to the phenomenal world.

Each one of these photographs could be a doorway into a separate realm. They are single perceptions, clear and vivid, like waking from a dream, finding yourself Here, nowhere else. Like the turning of a kaleidoscope, for a moment time stops, everything falls into place and I am part of the invisible pattern that holds the world together. Though standing on the earth, it still feels groundless. For so many years I photographed water as a way of exploring groundlessness. It turns out that photographing earth is groundless as well.

The world is inundated with photographs; 100 million and counting are uploaded to Instagram every day, visual records of a place or a time, a vacation or a hike. These photographs are those as well, but what makes this one, and not that one, rise above so many others, to hang on the wall in a frame, is because captured within the photograph is a sense of presence, of this moment, here, nowhere else, an absorption into vastness that some would call magic.

There is no unifying theme to this group of photographs. They are from Scotland, from the California desert, from walks in the New England woods, from backyards and from the window of an airplane, each a realm unto itself. Yet to me, the unifying thread is that feeling of Here, nowhere else. In the open-hearted sadness of direct perception, in the feeling of liminal presence, there's an intimacy, a magical connection to the elemental quality of the land. Held within the camera's frame, the details of the photograph—space, light, texture, shape, tone—are portals to the infinite number of spaces, textures, light, air, movement, life and death, that is everywhere in the natural world. My hope is that the photographs, like poetry, express something that cannot be expressed in any other way.

I wake up early every day. As I drink my coffee, I look out the kitchen window into the pitch black of a dark winter morning, or if it's summer, stand on the screened porch, and take in the beauty of the yard and the relative peace of my surroundings. But there's always a hole in my heart. The suffering, coarseness and cruelty, the chaos, aggression and confusion of the times we live in is always present as a shadow, always just a breath or a news alert away. Climate change haunts me. Realizing that the world I have known for my lifetime will not be the world that my grandson will grow up in makes the hole in my heart more like a crater. Every week, if not every day, somewhere in the world, in quiet ways or with destruction fast and inexorable, we are losing the earth that we love.

I did not set out to make photographs about climate change. I wanted to make photographs that were an emotional record of what it feels like to be a sentient being here on earth, to express the emptiness in the fullness of those moments, in those realms. The very existence of my humanness, however, implicates me as a participant in the anthropocene. Everything we do is changing our world, yet this is where we live.

Here, nowhere else.



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