Opening reception with the artist on Saturday, February 26, from
Our third exhibition by Mark Ruwedel will showcase images from his ongoing project (begun in 1994) titled "Westward the Course of Empire". The centerpiece of Westward is an inventory of the landforms created by the large numbers of railroads built in both the American and Canadian west. The cuts, fills, and grades shown in the photographs speak of the triumph of technology over what was often perceived of as hostile terrain, and the relentless struggle to create wealth and power from the land. The western railroads also developed in tandem with a specific photographic practice, the tradition of precise topographical observation that the photographs in Westward allude to. In addition to the railroads, the Westward archive includes images of uranium claims and mine entrances, bomb craters at abandoned army fields, "beehive" furnaces found at old saw mills, and derelict salt works on dry lake beds, selected from The Ice Age project.
Mark Ruwedel was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1954. He received an MFA from ConcordiaUniversity, Montreal, and was an Associate Professor there from 1984-2001. His work can be found in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; PrincetonUniversityArt Museum, Princeton, NJ; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON; FNAC Collection, France; National Gallery of Australia; and theVancouverArtGallery, Vancouver, BC. He is currently an Assistant Professor at California State University, Long Beach.