Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blood in the Gulf

Shifting: Photographs by Michel Varisco just opened at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The exhibition composed of photographs and photographic installations of Louisiana wetlands and the Gulf of Mexico, mostly through aerial views, deals with a subject of inspiration for artists in the South. The impact of the disasters from hurricanes to floods on the land is a common concern for the inhabitants, so is the impact of the interaction between man and nature.

The artist brings a fresh view to recurrent themes. The oil covering the water in "Sheen of Oil", 2010, with colored reflections on the water creates an abstract composition... it is pollution. The Gulf becomes a dantesque inferno with the oil burning ("Oil Burns in Gulf", 2010) and the Causeway from the sky, a path to nowhere. The photographer brings an unstable view of the land in "Mouth of the Atchafalaya River", 2011, with a soft light reflected by fine ripples on the water, left, and the shadow of a round island, right. The subject in the center is the deep dark water. "Morganza Spillway Water", 2012, is a dizzying photograph. A mountain of water climbs the flat land, its strength suggested by the oblique lines created by the flow. In "Blood in the Water", 2010, the oil through a chemical reaction, brings a new color to the Gulf's waters: red.
The artist offers a new vision of Louisiana wetlands and the Gulf, beyond all cliches. The frailty of the land surveyed reminds us that beauty is ephemereal and can be found in disasters or following disasters. Michel Varisco transferred her love of the land in these technical and artistic masterpieces. mixed with despair. 

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