Ocean and Desert

RENATE ALLER: OCEAN I DESERT

About the Book

This new project by German-born photographer Renate Aller, titled Ocean and Desert, is an extension of the ongoing series and sold-out book oceanscapes (Radius Books, 2010). Aller has continued to make images of the ocean from a single vantage point—for which she is internationally known—but for the last several years, she has also photographed sand dunes in New Mexico and Colorado.

She has now paired the resulting images in a fascinating new series that continues her investigation into the relationship between Romanticism, memory, and landscape in the context of our current socio-political awareness. There is both a visual and visceral relationship between the two bodies of work, as though the minerals of the sand dunes carry the memory of the ocean waters that were there millions of years before. The desert images also capture visitors to the dunes, who engage in beach activities far away from any large body of water. And while these parallel realities are from completely different locations, the simultaneous, multiple activities on the sloping sand hills appears as if layers of different people and activities were choreographed next to rolling waves of the sea.

Aller’s first combination of these images was in book form, for a mammoth hand-made book that was 36 inches wide. The overwhelming success of that object has inspired the new trade copy edition, which is as large a binding that can be mechanically bound, and includes an expanded selection of the work.

About the Artist

Renate Aller lives and works in New York. Ocean and Desert is her third monograph published with Radius Books, following Dicotyledon and the long-term project Oceanscapes-One View-Ten Years. Pieces from that series and other site specific art works are in the collections of corporate institutions, private collectors and museums, including the Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Yale University Art Gallery, the George Eastman House, Rochester, New Britain Museum of American Art, Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Chazen Museum of Art, Madison.

About the Writer

Janet Dees is currently a curator at SITE Santa Fe. A Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the University of Delaware, she received her BA in Art History and African/African American Studies from Fordham University and her MA in Art History from the University of Delaware. Before pursuing graduate work, Dees worked as a museum educator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York African Burial Ground Project and as assistant director for a contemporary art gallery in New York.