“Photography is a medium well-suited to recording and imagining the world. It is a cipher for knowledge and a precise yet malleable cataloging system that can be used to make sense of things that are not readily identifiable. And it can be terrifyingly particular in its results. Something beautiful and disquieting happens when David Maisel trains his camera on unfamiliar tracts of land that have been radically reshaped by mechanized activity and environmental neglect. The stains and detritus of mining, logging, and other similarly invasive industrial processes have been an inextricable part of the American landscape for almost two centuries. Although at ground level we may barely notice this topography of open wounds, the view from above is altogether a different matter. This has been Maisel’s principal photographic subject for almost three decades. His quest has taken him up into the air and toward the boundaries of the unknown to unveil a world that most of us have not seen before.”
—Excerpted from An Exquisite Problem by Julian Cox
January 7 – March 12, 2016. Haines Gallery proudly presents “The Fall”, a series of recent color photographs by California–based artist David Maisel. For nearly three decades, Maisel has created rigorous, captivating aerial photographs of landscapes affected by industry, agriculture, urban sprawl, and other forms of human intervention. Despite the political and environmental underpinnings of these images, Maisel’s work refuses didactic interpretation, evoking instead an experience that the artist has called the “apocalyptic sublime.”
Wired: “Sweeping Aerial Shots of Spain Look Like Alien Terrain.” January 28, 2016. Mallonee, Laura.
“The surreal landscapes in David Maisel’s ‘The Fall’ don’t look like anything on earth. The ashen colors and strange geometry appear otherworldly, like the surface of a distant planet. But his unusual landscapes are aerial views of mining, agriculture and construction sites in central Spain.”
The New Yorker: “David Maisel’s Geometric Geographies.” January 13, 2016. Bjornerud, Marcia.
“David Maisel’s aerial photographs of Toledo, Spain, and the surrounding La Mancha region, some of which will be on view at Haines Gallery, in San Francisco, through March 12th, can make Earth’s surface look more alien than terrestrial. Parts of the area that Maisel focussed on are underlain by light-colored alkaline rocks, which formed through the evaporation of an ancient body of water. The silvery soil of plowed fields almost shimmers, like a ghostly memory of that long-vanished sea.”