Enari Gallery is pleased to present Earth Uprising, a solo exhibition of new work by David Benjamin Sherry. The work presented seeks to challenge and reinvigorate the tradition of American Western landscape photography by immersing the viewer in a realm of mysticism, abstraction, and human connection. Sherry uses a traditional, 8×10 film camera and focuses on threatened landscapes to produce his monumental photographs. By re-examining the history of Western photography through a queer lens, Sherry highlights beauty as his response to a largely unheeded ecological crisis, rather than with images of destruction. Through vivid imagery and color choice, the artist creates abstractions from these landscapes as a means to unmoor the viewer and make space for reflection on humanity’s inextricable interdependence with nature.
Light, composition, and color are at the forefront of his practice, producing works through an analog, monochrome printing process. This project is part of an ongoing investigation into the artist’s own relationship with the natural world, the resulting works serving as a conduit for all of us, eloquently showcasing the beauty, exploitation, and identity politics intrinsic to Western Landscape photography.
“My art practice has evolved over the last fifteen years to primarily focus on threatened landscapes of the Western United States. In my desire to preserve these lands, I’m weaving together the tradition of large-format landscape photography with issues of identity while using color, beauty and scale as a tool to create emotional resonance. As a queer person I’m interested in challenging the West’s colonialist trope of the rugged (straight, white, male) individualist to present a much needed, more inclusive discourse around the region and its preservation. I mural-print my color photographs with an alternative darkroom process, in which I create a vibrant monochrome wash that veils the image, drawing tonal inspiration from the natural environment to determine the final print color. The dramatic size and coloration of the print provides an additional layer of experience to the work, akin to my own experience traveling through these spiritual places and witnessing the spectacle firsthand. My travels have also become a tool for processing the American queer experience as I navigate through rural spaces and communities stereotypically considered unsafe for queer people; queer narrativity and a sense of otherness is built into both the process and product of the work. The color and scale is meant to help enhance recognition, understanding, meaning and empathy for these fragile and threatened landscapes. My work is spawned by what is often described as climate grief, as many of us collectively mourn the loss of entire ecosystems. I use photography as a means to see, understand and commune with our sacred landscape in new, provocative ways.” —David Benjamin Sherry