Andrew Smith Gallery at 122 Grant Ave., Santa Fe, NM 87501, presents an exhibit of photographs by Joan Myers titled Brimstone, opening Friday, June 27, 2008, with a reception for the artist from 5-7 p.m. Joan Myers is one of New Mexico's most intelligent and prolific artists. Over the last thirty years she has produced photographic projects and books about the Santa Fe Trail, Japanese relocation camps, images of older women, the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, the environment of the Salton Sea near Palm Springs, California, and the frozen world of Antarctica.
Recently, Myers has been focusing on fire, specifically photographing geothermal sites in Yellowstone, Iceland and Pompeii where the earth's volcanic forces of destruction and renewal are spectacularly evident. The word geothermal comes from the Greek words geo (earth) and therme (heat). Volcanic eruptions create fertile new land around the world, and geothermal energy is a renewable energy source used to heat buildings and generate electricity. Volcanic energy is also the most destructive force in nature.
Brimstone contains a stunning body of new photographs describing an elemental world of boiling lakes, mud pots, hot springs, fumaroles, lava flows, geysers, and artifacts. Myers's accomplished use of subtle colors and her appreciation of the abstract quality of these scenes imbue her digitally printed photographs with visual power and documentary information. The exhibit continues through Sept. 10, 2008.
Myers began her project in the winter of 2007 in Yellowstone National Park, one of the premier geothermal locations on the planet. Yellowstone has more "hot spots" per square foot than anywhere else in the world. Its geological wonders include over 300 geysers and more than 10,000 thermal features. Myers photographed the snow covered landscape, capturing the eerie beauty of billowing steam vents, turquoise hot springs, and a fairyland of mineral deposits.
Next, she visited the ancient city of Pompeii, the world's best known archeological example of the destructive power of volcanoes. On August 24, A.D. 79 a 12-mile high cloud of ash and rock exploded from Mount Vesuvius, blowing debris toward the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae and other sites. Hours later, avalanches of toxic gases and ash rushed out of Vesuvius with a force of over 100 kilometers an hour, entombing Herculaneum in volcanic mud and burying Pompeii in volcanic matter. Thousands of people died instantly from the hot air of the surge. Myers photographed the remains of the rich lives these people had enjoyed in their elegant houses and splendid gardens adorned with mosaics and frescos.
Later that year Myers traveled to Iceland where the mid-ocean ridge of the Atlantic Ocean comes ashore along Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula. This plate boundary is marked by a zone of volcanic and seismic activity making Iceland a geologic "hot zone" with volcanic and fissure eruptions, shield volcanoes, pillow basalts, glaciers and geothermal features such as mudpots, hot springs, geysers, and fumaroles. The ancient Icelandic culture used heat and water from hot springs for washing, cooking, baking, and heating their homes. Today geothermal energy is a major resource of Icelandic society.
PHOTOGRAPHS FROM YELLOWSTONE
PHOTOGRAPHS FROM ICELAND
Myers's interest in geothermal sites is ongoing. She plans to photograph volcanos in Hawaii and in the Aeolian Islands near Sicily. She is also learning more about the effect volcanos have on global climate change. When Krakatoa erupted in 1883 enough volcanic particles were discharged into the atmosphere that the following year there was no summer. The cooling of the oceans resulting from the eruption lasted almost a century.
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