Views from the Peak?
March 1 - March 22, 2013
Reception with the Artist:
Friday 1st March
A publication accompanies this exhibition
"In 1859 the human race discovered a huge treasure chest in its basement. This was oil and gas, a fantastically cheap and easily available source of energy. We did, or at least some of us did what anybody does who discovers a treasure in the basement, live it up, and we have been spending this treasure with great enjoyment."
- Kenneth E. Boulding
Photographer Peter Evans works with dedication to illuminate all sides of a contemporary dilemma- our dependency on fossil fuel. His images work simply and in layers to engage reflection our societies' thirstless need for fuel sources that are becoming scarcer. Evans' approach is studied and realistic. Without oil and natural gas our modern industrialized society would never have been possible, this much is clear. He notes his own dependance on the resource "Almost every aspect of my comfortable lifestyle is dependent upon the industry from when I brush my teeth in the morning until switching off the light at night," and does not make the work out of critique, rather a desire to explore the reality around this complicated delema.
For the past few years Evans has worked specifically to document the oil and natural gas industry's impact on the landscape in New Zealand. New Zealand is a mass of land that protrudes above sea level from an otherwise submerged continent known as Tasmantis or Zealandia, and we find here the source of the work's title. Zealandia is known to contain large amounts of oil and natural gas, some of which is already being exploited in the Taranaki region. Exploration in other areas of Zealandia are currently underway, with more oil and gas expected to be discovered.
The work itself is frank and clean. In broad and expansive vistas the process of extraction, drilling, transporting, refining fule is obvious, and in other frames there is nearly no hint of man's efforts to mine fuel. The work indeed inspires reflection at our current state- our needs and the means by which they are met. Through this work we can see a foreshadowing of inevitable truth, and we begin to wonder what a futre will look like when the well does run dry.
For more information on the exhibition, please visit McNamara Gallery
Essay from the artist's book with further information on the research and foundation behind the work here
Boulding, Kenneth E. Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1978.