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Isolated Houses

October 15 Through November 15, 1997


Jessica Fredericks Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new photography by JOHN DIVOLA.. Mr. Divola’s work has been seen recently in Perpetual Mirage at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Scene of the Crime curated by Ralph Rugoff at the Armand Hammer Museum. The artist’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, as well as many other major museums. This will be the first one-person exhibition of his work in New York since 1992.


Within the contemporary urban reality the naturalhas become emblematic of transcendence--the vague destination of a general desire to get “outside” or “beyond”  the  cultural.  Using the iconography of the sublime landscape, John Divola investigates this desire and its ironic consequence of transforming the natural into the very condition one wishes to leave behind.


The photographs included in this project are all of isolated structures in the high desert of Southern California. All of the images are made in the east end of the Marongo Valley Basin, Wonder Valley, and the area surrounding the town of Twenty-Nine Palms. This area has a unique history.  Open to homesteading just prior and following W.W.I, individuals were given 160 acres of land if they would build a small structure of minimum size and live in it for a period of time. From aerial views of this location the distribution of the structures are a model of visual entropy.


By detailing the vernacular character of the architecture (painted in a Home Depot palette) as well as the visual interplay of the houses on the vast desert plain, lit by an extraordinary light, these photographs map out an extreme form of isolation and privacy that seems strikingly at odds with the landscape-- an opaque manifestation of  a ruined desire to escape our cultural bounds.


Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm. For further information and/or photographs please contact the gallery by telephone at (212) 633-6555 or fax at (212) 367-9502.