Do you know what it’s like to see your home through new eyes?
I am a child of the West, having lived in Utah for most of my life. These mountains and deserts are my home, and I’ve seen their incomparable landscapes thousands of times.
Nevertheless, I’ve recently had the opportunity to fall in love with them all over again with a fresh perspective; it was almost as if I’d never seen them before. At least, not quite like this.
If you visit Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art, you’ll have a similar opportunity. Among the galleries filled with works of old masters and contemporary artists, you’ll find a new exhibition: “Far Out: The West Re-seen, Photography of Victoria Sambunaris.”
This collection of 40 photographs from renowned photographer Victoria Sambunaris will reopen your eyes to the rugged beauty infused in the terrain of the American West. Through iconic portrayals of nature, engineering, and the uneasy frontier between man and creation, Sambunaris will amaze and inspire you with every work of art.
Sambunaris is not only “looking at the natural wonders around us, but also at how we as humans interact with them, respond to them, and perhaps change them,” Curator Dr Janalee Emmer said. “Our borders and our boundaries have marked the land. Our yards, our own homes have a distinct impact on how we see the land. We see that in this exhibition.”
Each year, Sambunaris embarks on a lengthy journey throughout the country, using a large-format wooden field camera to document what she encounters. Since 2002, Sambunaris has returned to Utah and the surrounding areas regularly to photograph the vast, complex and beautiful terrain.
Far Out focuses on landscape photographs from these journeys. The large scale of her work simulates the actual environment, allowing minute details to materialize, subtle colors to emerge, and viewers to feel as if they are standing in the place of the artist.
Describing her process, Sambunaris said: “Photography to an artist is neither an accident nor good fortune… Although both may occur, one’s personal vision can only be accomplished by plotting, measuring, and being steeled with patience — knowing the composition will ultimately reveal itself.”
The artist often waits days for the right conditions, immersing herself in local communities as she does so, to ensure her work communicates a deeply layered sense of place.
“The sublime captures us, terrifies, awes, and inspires,” Emmer added. “We get the sense of the sublime when looking at Sambunaris’s work.”
“Far Out: The West Re-Seen” is on exhibit at the MOA until May 1, so whether you’re new to the area or a veteran of this terrain who thinks they’ve seen all there is to see, the Museum of Art invites you to come take another glance at this land in a way you’ve never seen it before. You won’t be disappointed.