July 25, 2015 – September 6, 2015, Artist Gallery Talk: 3:00 PM Saturday, August 29th
MCASD La Jolla, Meyer Gallery,
700 Prospect Street,
La Jolla, California
“Virginia Beahan’s haunting photographs of the Salton Sea and its surrounds capture the lake’s layered history and precarious present. In Elegy for an Ancient Sea, Beahan presents images from her explorations of the California desert, as she brings a nuanced eye to the landscape’s fraught past. Through her visually sumptuous photographs, the Salton Sea becomes a kind of character, struggling to sustain life as its physical reality deteriorates.”
In Elegy for an Ancient Sea, Beahan examines the Salton Sea’s complexities as they manifest in the present. Some photographs focus on destruction: bare expanses of lakebed, dilapidated homes and trailer parks. Others record the persistence of life amid the ruins. Slab City, an abandoned military base, is now an off-the-grid community. Artists in the area are integrating their socially conscious work into remnants of what is left of the human-altered landscape. And new dreams of cities rising from the desert–disconcertingly similar to those that failed decades long ago–shimmer on the horizon. Underlying the photographs’ allure exist questions about the implications of human intervention into the natural world.