Broken Mirror/Evening Sky is a new series of striking landscape photographs by New York based artist Bing Wright. Departing from his usual pared down images in grey palettes, Wright offers us moving skyscape photographs of richly colored sunsets reflected onto broken mirrors. This new body of work marks his first return to color photography in almost a decade.
The images are meticulously constructed through a combination of traditional documentary landscape photographs and the subtle manipulations of an image in the studio. Wright photographs sunsets, then projects the images onto mirrors he has broken in the studio. The mirrors are small, measuring just 14 x 11 inches. The artist re-photographs the reflection and then enlarges the image into a large scale format. This beautiful series incorporates Wright’s recurring themes of abstraction and representation – a contrast he masterfully balances by grounding these shards of images into a bold structure. While more abstract than some of his earlier works, the composition carries a narrative that enables the viewer to collectively experience the beauty of the sunsets the artist has captured, while facilitating an individual interpretation of the emotion they imbue. We are presented with pictorial images, fragmented and in disrepair – a reminder that everything beautiful is flawed and imperfect. Bing’s signature large format lends these images symmetry and exact composition, giving them a majestic quality. (src. James Harris Gallery)
Whether they are active or long dormant, mines speak of a combination of sacrifice and gain. Their features are crude, unsightly scars on the landscape – unlikely feats of hard labour and specialised engineering, constructed to extract value from the earth but also exacting a price.
These images combine photography and computer generated elements in an effort to visualise the output of a mine. The CGI objects represent a scale model of the materials removed from the mine, a solid mass occupying a scene which shows the ground from which it was extracted. By doing so, the intention is to create a kind of visualisation of the merits and shortfalls of mining in South Africa, an industry that has shaped the history and economy of the country so radically.
This is the first in a broader series of images, dealing with the extraction of precious metals and stones, possibly coal as well. For now, however, the project begins with the first mining operations in South Africa, removing copper from the arid Namaqualand region.
The country’s first ever commercial mine, the Blue Mine in Springbok, began operating in 1852. More mines opened soon after as copper deposits were discovered in the surrounding areas. This, in turn, boosted the development of small towns in a relatively remote area of the country, as workers settled nearby. By 2007, however, most of these mines had run their course and production had stopped almost completely. This presents an uncertain future for the towns and people of the region.