Like a scientific researcher, Wolkoff travels to public lands throughout the United States to photograph the landscape of the critical zone. She uses a range of techniques from the 4x5 view camera to a flatbed scanner, utilizing subjective post-production techniques that expand the photography beyond science. The work in this show is notable that it is her first body of black and white photographs.
The elements collected for these photographs show millions of years of geologic change—from evidence of sliding glaciers to traces of disappeared oceans. Today, these places are being affected in new ways due to rising temperatures and the effects of climate change in our current epoch, the Anthropocene. Black sand is churned up by hurricanes, invasive insects consume trees, and icebergs melt in plain sight. The photographs in The Critical Zone leave the viewer unsure about where they stand, the scale and point of view are vertiginous. It is also unclear what the future holds for the state of the natural world.
Katherine Wolkoff (b. 1976) received her MFA from Yale School of Art in 2003. Wolkoff’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally including the QPN Festival, France; Aperture Gallery, New York; and Palais de Tokyo, France. Her works are included in the collections of the Addison Gallery of Art, the Norton Museum of Art and the Yale University Library, and they have been featured in publications including the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and Artforum. She was nominated for the Prix Pictet Prize in 2008.