Peter Vanderwarker: Sublimation
March 31 – April 29 at Gallery NAGA
Just when you thought you could pack away your snowshoes, winter returns through the lens of Peter Vanderwarker.
After a week-long trip to Yellowstone National Park in January, Vanderwarker came away with a trove of photographs that pivot around sublimation – a change of state, a movement from solid to gas. At Yellowstone, winter resides on the surface while a very different climate lingers beneath.
Vanderwarker’s entire exhibition focuses on the organic. He creates photographs with illusions of scale and form and finds shape and line in the natural world just as he has accomplished with his architectural subjects throughout his career.
Vanderwarker remarks on his trip:
Yellowstone is a winter landscape sitting on a stove. A super volcano sits underneath the park, and erupts every 600,000 years or so. Everywhere, you see huge, dead, burnt trees from a devastating fire 29 years ago. But this scarred landscape is wearing a five-foot deep blanket of new snow – it is dry powder so Yellowstone is a blissfully quiet place. On cold mornings, ice particles just hang in the air, looking like silver.
Solid turns to vapor everywhere. The reverse happens too: Steam gushes from boiling pools of mud. When the steam hits anything solid, it turns instantly to rime ice, which then sublimates back into the dry air.
Lots of animals live here, but I don’t know how. Bison use their heads to scrape snow away from old dried grass. Wolves look for weak bison. Foxes listen intently for voles scuttling under the snow, then dive-bomb them. Bacteria thrive in a narrow zone around thermal features, growing right between steam and ice.
Heaven knows, this is a boiling, beautiful place.
Peter Vanderwarker was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University in 1997 and earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Graham Foundation and is the author of three books about architecture in Boston. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, and the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, MA.
Peter Vanderwarker: Sublimation runs from March 31 – April 29. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, April 7 from 6 to 8 pm.