I had the great pleasure of meeting artist Matthew Rangel and seeing in person his stunning collection of prints entitled “a transect – Due East“. The set of 12 lithographic prints documents his journey due east from Dinuba, his hometown, into the Sierra Foothills and to the summit of the highest peaks of the Great Western Divide.
The concept is a really simple one. Just a few miles east of Dinuba lie the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Usually this view is obscured by the horrible air quality but on those rare days when a winter storm clears out the air, the snowy peaks gleam in the near distance. Inspired by just such a sight, Rangel decided to simply walk east to reach those peaks. Reaching them turned out to be not so simple as it involved crossing a lot of private property. Securing the permission from the various landowners to traverse their lands required several years work.
The prints combine layers of drawings made on the journey, historical and government maps and photographs to create a work that is literally multi-layered and reflects upon this landscape and man’s ownership and modification of it. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of the cult of the fine print in the photography world. This work, however, seen in person, best exemplifies the obsessive attention to detail, materials, and meaning. The prints invite and reward close scrutiny and extended viewing.
If you are lucky enough to be in Fresno this month or in March you can see Rangel’s prints on view at the San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation Trust’s River House. The exhibit opens February 11, 2010 with a reception from 5:30-7:30pm. Also coming up on February 20, 2010, Matthew Rangel is speaking at the Three Rivers Arts Center as part of the Sequoia Speaks series [more info]