The landscape of Emmet Gowin's photographs is one of cruel beauty. Gowin, high above his subjects, photographs the gold mines, open coal pits, battlefields and atomic test sites which have scarred the earth's skin. From his God-like perch, these assaults on nature take on a transcendent, abstract quality. Poisoned lakes reflect cloudless skies. Half domes are pressed into the land like dimples. Stripes of blackened earth unfurl across the landscape like streaks of modernist abstraction rendered on a global scale. The richly toned palette of Gowin's black and white photographs lends his images a severe elegance. They seem almost immorally gorgeous -- like a kind of hideous but alluring scarification. That the earth has survived the attacks Gowin's photographs describe -- a description as candid as forensic evidence -- is as much a testament to the planet's strength as to our folly as a species. Emmet Gowin received his M.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design and his B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University. His honors include several fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. To date, three monographs have been published on his work and his photographs are in museum collections internationally, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Tokyo Museum of Art, the George Eastman House in Rochester, Espace Photographic de Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum fo American Art in New York. He has had numerous one-person exhibitions; recently his work was exhibited at New York's Pace/MacGill Gallery.

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