Questions for an Overcast Day.
Photographs by Robert Adams.
Matthew Marks / Fraenkel Gallery, 2008. 74 pp., 33 tritone illustrations., 6¾x9½".
Questions for an Overcast Day is a series of 33 photographs of young alder trees growing along the Oregon coastline near the artist's home. The series begins by focusing on the branches of the trees, and, progressing from one image to the next, narrows its focus, culminating with several images of a single leaf.
The leaves on the trees appear perforated, the precise cause of which is unknown. The artist likens the particular pattern of erosion on each leaf to hieroglyphics, reading in them a unique 'calligraphy of disaster.'
About them, Adams writes:
What would account for the condition of the leaves-
drought, insects, rocky ground, disease, herbicide, wind?
Are the leaves beautiful?
As with the artist's earlier photographs-of suburban detritus, tract housing under construction and devastated, clear-cut forests-the viewer is invited to find beauty as it coexists with the imperfection, even destruction, of the present day.
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