Christopher Rodriguez’s photographs from ‘Between Artifice and the Sublime’ are about ideas, in particular our conception of the landscape both past and present, from the Romantic sense of Godlike majesty, that was prevalent in the 18th and 19th Centuries, to the more prosaic present where we see the environment as a place to impinge on, mould to our own liking, destroy in our pursuit of work and leisure.
Each of Rodriguez’s pictures serve as a juxtaposition between an historical and contemporary view of nature and how we emotionally relate, how we perceive, the environment around us. The result is a series of pictures that are both absurd, humorous, poetic and strangely disturbing. They are a meta narrative that reflect a worrying moment in human history that has seen ecological disasters become all to common and the idyll of the wilderness a remnant of the past, a memory, a dream lost in the mists of time.
All of these images were taken over a period of five years when Rodriguez was on the road and give us a sense of an America at odds with itself, a promised land destroyed by those who sought a new life, a new start, a new idea for a society that was rooted in the soil of the New World. It’s an irony not lost on him and is a sad indictment of how far we have come and how close we are to the precipice of our own destruction. Life as a theme park. The real a facsimile of the past. Here’s what Rodriguez has to say about the series:
The impetus for the project stems from a desire to evaluate our evolving paradigm of Nature. The project consists of intermingled groups of photographic genres: archetypal landscapes, street photography and abstractions, but my focus is on the interrelationships between juxtaposed images that necessitate formal, metaphoric and poetic associations. Separately the images isolate myths. Together they aim to demystify Nature through a process of self-aware photographic representation.