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Marc Selwyn Fine Art is pleased to announce our upcoming show of recent photographs by Richard Misrach. This exhibition focuses on the artist’s images of the desert Southwest and explores the complex relationships between nature and our changing political culture. Haunting scenes of abandoned homes, decaying furniture and graffiti laden structures are photographed in an unaltered state, often surrounded by a desolate landscape.

Documenting his regular journeys through the American West, Misrach’s Desert Cantos have captured mysterious traces of human life in remote areas of California, Arizona and Nevada. In Plaster Man, near Boulevard, California, 2009, an abandoned, plaster figure contemplates the landscape in an orange cloak and rancher’s hat surrounded by shrubs and trees. Similarly, in Bassinet, Salton Sea, California, 2009, a single, pristine, pink and white baby’s bassinet is ensconced in the ruins of a home ravaged by fire or natural disaster. Effigy #7, near Jacumba, California, 2009 depicts four scarecrow-like wooden figures, their outstretched, angular limbs reaching skyward from the dark shadows of a concrete tunnel backlit by the desert sun.

Images of the Mexican-American border are some of the artist’s most powerful and iconic images. In Playas de Tijuana #1, San Diego, California, 2013, the largest work in the show (recently acquired by Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Misrach depicts a lively Mexican beach scene obscured by the stark bars of the American border wall. As the artist states: “The wall separating Tijuana and San Diego, with its thick vertical bars reminds me of a jail cell. On the Tijuana side, families are on the beach, playing in the surf, barbecuing, sunning themselves. On the U.S. side, because it’s so militarized, no one is enjoying the beach…. Whenever I go to the desert, I discover things that are unusual. I may not know what they are, but I know a potent narrative will follow in the months or years ahead.” Other works focus on the graffiti Misrach documented during his inland desert journeys and reflect the divergent political climate in often forgotten regions away from the metropolitan and coastal enclaves of the West. Politically charged inscriptions, eccentric figures and controversial symbols grace the façades of buildings, boulders, homemade signs and the concrete pavement itself. According to Misrach, “In our age of relentless posting on social media, it is remarkable that people choose abandoned homes and remote rock formations as canvases for political expression. These are the hieroglyphics of our time.”

Richard Misrach has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad. Recent museum exhibitions include Border Cantos, made in collaboration with the experimental composer Guillermo Galindao, which was exhibited at Amon Carter Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and San Jose Museum of Art in 2016-2017. His work is represented in many prominent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, and The Getty Museum of Art, California. Misrach is a recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. In 2001, he received the Knight Purchase Award for Photographic Media from the Akron Art Museum, and in 2002, the Kulturpreis for Lifetime Achievement in Photography from the German Society of Photography. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Myriam.

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