Beginning September 23, Phoenix Art Museum will present a unique photographic series from Pulitzer-Prize-winning photojournalist Marissa Roth. Infinite Light: A Photographic Meditation on Tibet Roth’s self- described love letter to Tibet, evoking a highly personal, poetic depiction of the artist’s travels in 2007 and 2010. Featuring scenes of nature, art, and Buddhist practice and devotion, the exhibition captures Roth’s impressions of Tibet. Museum visitors will be able to experience the series’ 72 images in their original sequence from September 23, 2017 through February 18, 2018.
“Phoenix Art Museum is delighted to bring Infinite Light to our galleries,” said Amada Cruz, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum. “This exhibition represents a chance for our community to experience the rarely-seen landscapes, art, and culture of Tibet right here in Phoenix, and we’re excited to share this distinctive photographic series with our visitors.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Marissa Roth is an internationally-published documentary photographer. Roth was part of the Los Angeles Times photography staff that won a Pulitzer Prize (Best Spot News) for its coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots; since then, her freelance work has earned her publication in many major news media outlets, including the New York Times. Infinite Light embodies Roth’s original vision to create a continuous linear sentence evoked in photographs. The exhibition is composed of 72 images taken on Kodachrome film, known as the “black and white” of color film for its dramatic highlights and deep shadows and which is no longer produced in the world. The film allowed Roth to punctuate lush tones of red and orange while capturing subtler earth tones and rendering the truest photographic black. In the artist’s words, the film’s potential for visual contrast was integral to the project. “It is this contradiction and duality that I continually search for and respond to visually, as I believe that they are the seen metaphors for all that exists,” Roth said.
“Marissa Roth's photographs deftly capture the highly spiritual, yet deeply visceral, essence of Tibetan culture,” said Janet Baker, the Museum's curator of Asian art. “The stark contrast between light and shadows and the intense, saturated colors that move through the series evoke a poetic, almost intimate feeling of what it feels like to experience life at 12,000 feet.”
Infinite Light will be on view in the Museum's Art of Asia Gallery. The images will be exhibited in the order that Roth meticulously determined, translating to the gallery the practice of a walking meditation, a Buddhist exercise in which movement provides a path to mindfulness and awareness. Viewers are encouraged to contemplate the images in sequential order, at their own meditative pace.