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The exhibition Mark Ruwedel Dusk presents eight black and white images that capture the degraded, fringe spaces of the high desert in Southern California. The photographs describe a landscape of simultaneous development and decay. Ruwedel chooses to photograph those houses that seem to be either once inhabited or incomplete constructions. Yet most of these houses occupy a middle zone, where the viewer is perplexed in wondering if they are coming or going, generative or degenerative. Photographed at dusk, the images record an atmosphere that is melancholic and sublime.
Ruwedel's primary interest has been to capture the West as a palimpsest of cultural and natural histories. While his series Westward the Course of Empire uncovers abandoned railway paths through the West, his series Ice Age depicts sites that merged indigenous inhabitation with a geological sense of time. With the photographs found in Dusk, that sense of historical time seems to have collapsed. No longer do we find in Ruwedel's images the traces of a distant past, but the imminence of ad hoc construction and the detritus left in its wake.
The 8 works in this exhibition were acquired by the museum in 2010/11.