Michael Namingha ‘Altered Landscapes’
David Richard Gallery
Sep. 1, 2023 - Sep. 24, 2021
David Richard Gallery is pleased to present Altered Landscapes by Michael Namingha, a Native American artist of the Tewa-Hopi tribes from Northern New Mexico in his first solo exhibition with the gallery. The presentation includes seven new photography-based artworks that address climate change and the resulting manmade alterations to the landscape using images from two specific locations in New Mexico and a novel process for printing and presenting the images. The images are manipulated and segmented into blocky structures with bisecting and overlapping planes of varying color values. The resulting digital chromogenic prints are mounted with the face of the image to the backside of shaped and strategically angled Plexiglas that relates directly to the blocky internal shapes. This process takes the photograph out of a purely pictorial realm, giving the artist the opportunity to further compose the view, emphasize specific elements and provide depth and perspectival dimension.
The first group of images are of Chaco Canyon, an ancient and sacred place for the Hopi and Puebloan people of Arizona and New Mexico. The surrounding area is a major source of oil and natural gas extraction and according to NASA the site of the largest cloud of methane gas in North America that appears as pink, red, orange and yellow in satellite images. Thus, the intense red color combined with the artist’s novel process of printing the images references the massive emissions in the region and their altering effects on the landscape.
The second set of images are of the mountains around Santa Fe during the summer of 2020 when, just as now, the Southwestern US was, and still is, experiencing intense and some of the historically worst fires on record. What was remarkable to the artist at that time was the intense sunsets with eerie hues and otherworldly skies with the mountains as the backdrop. Clearly, these colors are not normal even though they are beautiful and dramatic. The proliferation of forest fires is an unfortunate by-product of global warming and mankind’s ongoing contribution to altering the landscape.