NORTH ADAMS, MASS.-
Landscape Seen & Imagined, MASS MoCA's
major survey of the work of Clifford Ross, is now on full view following the installment of Ross's Harmonium Mountain in the museum's Courtyard D. The exhibition, which is presented across six galleries in two buildings and this two-story exterior installment, is now complete as the museum's space is transformed by twelve massive screens, each 24' high, displaying Ross's animated video work Harmonium Mountain as an immersive installation. Visitors have the opportunity to experience the scale and magnitude of Clifford Ross's work, a celebration of light, color, movement and sound, as Harmonium Mountain is accompanied by musical performances throughout the summer, that began with the Solid Sound Festival on June 26 - 28, 2015.
Landscape Seen & Imagined features video and photographic work drawn from Ross's career, distinguished by his signature high-resolution works, which aim to reconcile realism and abstraction through the use of unconventional methods of shooting and printing, and the interplay of extreme scale and microscopic detail. Large-scale, high-resolution photographic works are the source material and centerpiece of Landscape Seen & Imagined, which offers a multisensory experience across media, drawing connections between the natural elements of waves and mountains and music and architecture, through images that are simultaneously monumental and lyrical.
Harmonium Mountain represents a vital piece of Clifford Ross's longstanding interest in the wide capacity of the photographic medium to lead the way from realism to abstraction, the thematic heart of Landscape Seen & Imagined. The elements in the video animation derive from a single image of the majestic Mount Sopris, located near Aspen, Colorado, captured by Ross in ultra-high resolution on the trademarked R1 camera of his own design. The Harmonium series images, also exhibited within Landscape Seen & Imagined in the form of colorful prints, as well as within a short video, depict a fragment of the original Mount Sopris photograph in extreme close-up detail, imbued by Ross with saturated hues to celebrate the inherent details otherwise invisible to the naked eye. In Harmonium Mountain these elements become moving graphic components in a large-scale computer animation, creating dynamic, tumbling, crystalline forms.
Other works on view in Landscape Seen & Imagined include the immense Sopris Wall I, a 24' high x 114' long photograph, printed in negative in cured ink on wood panels, which spans the length of MASS MoCA's tallest gallery. The exhibition also includes works from Ross's landmark Hurricane series. To create these photographs, Ross waded into the surf while tethered to land, capturing vivid images of ocean waves during severe coastal storms. For his Mountain series, which takes Mount Sopris as its subject, Ross used the R1 camera he invented to create some of the highest-resolution single-shot landscape photographs ever produced. Landscape Seen & Imagined marks the first showing of a new series of video works entitled Digital Hurricane Waves, shown in a 12,000 square-foot space never before utilized by MASS MoCA. Within a loft-like trussed gallery adjacent to the space containing the first American exhibition of Ross's new large-scale Hurricane prints, computer-generated renderings of complex fluid dynamics are projected onto two large LED screens, which form the installation Wave Cathedral.
Harmonium Mountain premiered at Wilco's Solid Sound Festival, marking the first live performances to accompany the work this summer, featuring the bands Real Estate on June 26 and Cibo Matto on June 27. Additional live music performances are scheduled for August 8, featuring the Brooklyn-based band Oneida and special guest Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. A selection of recorded music curated by the artist in collaboration with musician John Colpitts (a.k.a. Kid Millions) will accompany the work every Thursday and Friday at dusk, from July 2 through August 14. The curated mix includes a selection of music ranging from Lou Reed to Steven Reich and Maria Callas to Fela Kuti.
Clifford Ross was born in New York City in 1952 and studied art and art history at Yale University. He began his artistic career as a painter and sculptor, creating his first photographic works in 1994. This led to Ross's first major series, Hurricane, beginning in 1996. Ross's photographs are held in private collections and museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City; the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Recent works include The Austin Wall (2013), with architects Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam, for the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Austin, Texas, and a multimedia installation with Pan Gongkai, president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, at the Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou, China in 2014. Ross is a visiting artist at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts' Interactive Telecommunications Program. Ross is the author of The World of Edward Gorey (Abrams) and editor of Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics (Abrams).