January 26th, 2012
April 20th, 2011
© Steve Fitch. Above: Drive-in Theater, Sharon, Pennsylvania, 1975 (from his series Diesels and Dinosaurs)
Steve Fitch is a photographer and educator who has been making photographs of the American West for more then four decades. As a boy, the scenes that he observed out of the window of his father’s 1951 Buick fascinated him. In the introduction of Fitch’s first book Diesels and Dinosaurs, he re-accounts memories of observing small towns, glowing neon signs and 18-wheelers roaming the highway. Fitch was also witness to the rise and fall of the drive in theater. All were experiences that molded his interests as an adult – leading to his visual studies of the highway culture of the American West and man’s encroachment upon it. Highway Culture, an exhibition of Fitch’s work made between 1971 through the present, will open at the photo-eye Gallery on February 25, 2012.
All photos © Henry Wessel/ Pace MacGill Gallery.
Since the 1960s, Wessel has photographed vernacular scenes of the American West, particularly in California. Immediately drawn to the quality of light he encountered during a visit from New York to Los Angeles, Wessel moved cross-country to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1971. From stretches of dusty highway to modest California bungalows framed by telephone poles and palm trees, Wessel’s often spare and solitary images capture the idiosyncrasies and irony of American life with a wry objectivity. His photographs of parking lots, beach-goers, and shrubbery — all illuminated by the brilliance of Western light — find beauty and intrigue in the commonplace and document the social landscape in a manner that is casual yet formally compelling. An exhibition featuring 29 vintage photographs taken by Wessel from the late 1960s to the late 1980s opens tomorrow evening at the Pace MacGill gallery. The exhibition is on view until July 11, 2011.
-Pace MacGill Gallery