David Emitt Adams Creates Photographs Of The Southwest On Tin Cans Found In The Desert

David Emitt Adams - Wet-Plate Collodion Print on Found Object David Emitt Adams - Wet-Plate Collodion Print on Found Object

David Emitt Adams - Wet-Plate Collodion Print on Found Object

David Emitt Adams beautifully captures the landscape of the Southwest on the surface of discarded tin cans along with other debris he finds in the desert. Growing up in Yuma, Arizona, he is no stranger to the desert and the objects inhabiting it. Adams explains that deserts, naturally being so barren, are often used as a dumping site for garbage. This is where he finds all of his materials, with some tin cans being up to four decades old. He combines classic and iconic Southwest imagery with the reality of the state of the land today. Although the present day desert still holds immense and vast beauty, it is not without the remnants of urban sprawl left behind.

Throughout history, the West has long been photographed and documented due to its breathtaking and often unbelievable, natural landscapes. Adams not only pays homage to this tradition, but to its traditional processes as well. Inspired by the history of photography, the process he uses was one of the first methods of photography invented. Adams chosen method of photography is not your everyday digital photograph. He uses a labor intensive process invented in the mid-19th century called “wet-plate collodion.” This complicated process not only takes time, but an impressive amount of skill. Adams’ technical talents are only matched by the creativity of his body of work. Each tin can’s rich, red patina is still intact as they bend and twist around their lids, which hold the delicate image of the desert. This series, Conversations with History, is just one of several series in which Adams uses this traditional method of photography to express his artistic vision.

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Steven Jon Yazzie’s Coyote Series

Steven Yazzie is a Native American (Navajo Nation) artist who lives in Arizona. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps before pursuing painting through residency at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and is currently pursuing his BFA in painting from the University of Arizona. Although this review focuses exclusively on Yazzi’s Coyote Series, he has an extensive body of work that ranges between abstraction and surrealism, incorporating an interest in pattern, shape, the Southwestern landscape, and Navajo culture and history.

Yazzi’s paintings question the relationship between man and nature, and between interior and exterior spaces. Elements of the wilderness and the playful trickster Coyote are placed alongside modern, minimalist domestic spaces; several paintings even reference the ultimate minimalist establishments – the gallery space – drawing from principles (if not necessarily the practice) of Institutional Critique.

Looking closer, all of his interiors are symbolically suggestive of their original elements – an animal printed ottoman, stone colored couch, grassy rug, unprocessed lumber table, and landscape paintings adorning the walls all mimic the desert landscape to which they are adjacent; the coyote must still feel somewhat at home within these fused environments.

Among his many achievements, Yazzi has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Museum of the American Indian, New York, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, NM. Phoenix Art Museum, Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson Museum of Art, and the Museum of Northern Arizona and has been featured in the 2011 West issue of New American Paintings.

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