New York

John McWilliams

Light Gallery

John McWilliams’s large view-camera photographs show out-of-the-way landscapes in the rural South. The land is dark and ruined, but singularly beautiful nonetheless. It is Eden after the fall, Georgia post-Sherman. Ivy covers the pilings of burned-out bridges. An unused silo has become only a shape, as abandoned in the woods as was Bishop Berkeley’s tree, falling unheard in the heart of the forest. The focus of each picture, however, is a human intrusion of some sort, either of the past or to be created as a future presence. There are old houses and outbuildings and there are signs of swamps being drained and land being cleared. In one picture, the puddles left by some sort of earth-moving machinery point like fingers to a silvery smooth future of K-Marts and interstate highways.

But the finished development is never present. The ruin of the human past and the ruin of nature are part of

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