Virginia Wilcox: Arboreal
Under the harsh cover of the Los Angeles smog, photographic artist Virginia Wilcox finds softness in the city’s natural landscapes. In her debut monograph, Arboreal, published by Deadbeat Club, Wilcox captures black and white scenes in Los Angeles’ sprawling parks. Stark and provocative, the subjects seem more “tree-like” or “related to trees,” an extension of their surroundings. Wilcox’s photographs document the conjunction of human and nature; a coat left hanging from a tree or the outline of a bare branch mimicking the Los Angeles skyline blur the boundaries between what is natural and what is not. The people in her work seem to blend into the endless, dry terrain, asking the viewer to question where they end, and the landscape begins. Wilcox says her photographs “Offer a winding journey through a mangled urban landscape that looks something like wilderness, towing the line between the natural and built environment.” Her work is complex, creating tension between the real and the artificial. Through a loving eye, Wilcox is able to frame the nuances of Los Angeles topography with a curated, pointed gaze. Arboreal, she says, is “A suggestion of infinity.” Jon Feinstein from the Humble Arts Foundation recently interviewed Virginia about her work and new book and you can read it here.
The book comes in an edition of 500 is also available as a Special Edition monograph that comes in a specially designed foil stamped slipcase with tipped in photograph in an edition of 20. Both can be purchased through Deadbeat Club Press.
Virginia Wilcox is a photographer who lives and makes work in Los Angeles, California. She received her MFA in Photography from the University of Hartford, and BA in Photography from Bard College. Virginia has shown work at Actual Size Gallery (Los Angeles), Joseloff Gallery (Hartford), Glass Box Gallery (Seattle), and Hedreen Gallery (Seattle). Her work has been published in Juxtapoz, Fisheye Magazine, Fotofilmic, Closing Ceremony, Humble Arts Foundation, Aint-Bad, and C41 Magazine. Virginia has spent the last decade teaching photography to at-risk youth in both Los Angeles and her hometown of Seattle.
These images offer a winding journey through a mangled urban landscape that looks something like wilderness, towing the line between the natural and built environment. Human presence remains subtly traceable in the details: man-made objects scattered amidst brush, alterations to the landscape, and a feeling of searching and belonging to hidden spaces. Taken in Los Angeles parks, the photographs are formal studies, primarily concerned with texture, dimension, depth, and division of space. Light wraps itself around objects contained by carefully constructed frames. Within the frame, location, scale and time are brought into question. There is a tension between beautiful, formal landscape and frequent interruptions of everyday objects – sewer drains, concrete pathways, trash – reminders of the sprawling city below. This juxtaposition is mirrored in the construction of the images themselves: amidst the density of intersecting forms and vistas, a suggestion of infinity invites the viewer to look further while questioning what is beautiful in the contemporary landscape. – Virgina Wilcox
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