Spaces in Between: Following the Route of Keystone XL

Friday April 19, 2019

2351 Fox Rd
Suite 700
Santa Fe, NM 87507
US

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Max Baseman

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       5. Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Spaces in Between: Following the Route of Keystone XL featuring a selection of photographs from the series of the same name by Mary Peck. Peck has been working with photography for over forty years. Her photographs are held in many collections, including the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal; the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the National Museum of American Art, Washington DC; the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is the principal author of Bhutan: Between Heaven and Earth (Merlin Press and Phoenix Art Museum, 2011), Away Out Over Everything: The Olympic Peninsula and the Elwha River (Stanford University Press, 2004), and Chaco Canyon: A Center and Its World (Museum of New Mexico Press, 1994)"

 

      Speaking on the Florida Everglades, an earlier project, Mary Peck explains that, “More than an introduction to a once wild place, it was an exponential enlargement of the world as I had known it. Those days in the Everglades determined much of the course of my life because there the living world became so much more than human.” Mary Peck’s photography communicates the world as such - as larger than human and as encompassing the human - as a once wild place. Her work speaks to the sacred and silent in land and place. To stand in front of one of her pieces inevitably fills the viewer with a sense for those spaces, the taste of the air, the feel of the wind - her work rarely includes the human figure, but the human is always present as participant - affected and effector. In one essay Tim McNulty explains that, "If there is a current that unites Mary Peck's photographs, it is the sense - for the photographer and viewer - of being a part of what is seen: The clean, fluid, and untamed beauty of the natural world, as well as its heartbreaking abuse.”

 

      The line that runs through Peck’s work between beauty and abuse, between serenity and responsibility, between sensuality and protection, is as strong as ever in Spaces in Between: Following the Route of Keystone XL. Because the pipeline is a “buried, hidden thing,” Peck began her journey in Alberta, “to see what goes on aboveground—how the land where the oil comes from is treated”. Two metric tons of sand are removed to produce each barrel of oil. Peck speaks to how the land here reminded her of the clear cut forests of the Olympic Peninsula, “The visible land scars” engendering, “an ominous sense of danger.”

 

"As in the Washington clear-cuts, birds and wildlife in the boreal forest are driven out or killed. This violence to the land seems contagious, and its reach finds its extension to human life in a long legacy of sex trafficking and rape endemic in the mining industries. It continues in the oil field man-camps, and it plagued communities where Keystone I workers bunked. Sexual violence looms as one more significant threat of the Keystone XL."

 

Spaces in Between: Following the Route of Keystone XL follows Mary Peck through the spaces in between the Alberta Refinery and the Steele City Pumping Station. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline crosses a number of large named rivers: Red Deer, Saskatchewan, Cheyenne, Yellowstone, Missouri, Niobrara, North Platte. Peck continues, “What I was not prepared for was the multitude of small rivers and tributaries this pipeline would need to cross. In the United States that number is well over 1,000, including intermittent, perennial, and ephemeral streams; small tributary creeks; and major rivers.” Peck traveled the 1,100 mile range of the proposed pipeline. The images in this series are always within range and always downstream of the path of the Keystone XL pipeline. The spaces are majestic and beautiful. They call to the viewer, reminding them that they are of these spaces; connected to them deeply and responsible to them.  

 

 

More information can be found:

 Mary Peck Profile / website: http://www.marypeckstudio.com/profile/#!

Space in Between writing and images: http://www.marypeckstudio.com/projects/spaces-in-between/