Lois Conner

Laurence Miller Gallery

Lois Conner’s panoramic platinum prints of China give us the provinces before mechanization and good roads. Even large cities look provincial. An occasional bicycle and old truck are the most modern things we see, and only the imperial architecture of Beijing and the British imperialist architecture of Shanghai act as historical markers. The rest is gardens, yards, streets, fields, steep buttes, low-lying ancient ruins on empty plateaus, and peasants.

Using large negatives on platinum-treated paper—which together produce the most finely-graduated scale of grays now available to photographers—Conner infuses every scene with a high silvery light so serene that we feel her China is governed by slow-moving tradition and cyclical time rather than by change, progress, and history. Her compositions seem to be both products of her will to form and of her having merely framed those visual harmonies

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