New York

Frank Gohlke

Bonni Benrubi Gallery

Frank Gohlke’s photographs are characterized by carefully selected details set against a grand, virtually infinite space; this signature style is also his means of mastering the contradictions of nature. Gohlke maps the same Midwestern/Western territory—Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas (with Mount Saint Helens thrown in)—that the social realists of the ’30s did, but his raw vision of the land is even more austere (and less ideological) than theirs. As his excruciating close-ups of houses destroyed by tornadoes indicate, nature easily wrecks the best-laid plans. Gohlke’s landscape is a bleak, weirdly hermetic, inherently untamable tundra. Again and again in these photographs, sublime terrains, punctuated by seemingly pointless traces of human presence, seem to mock humankind’s attempt to inhabit them. Much as Pascal found his anxiety echoed in cosmic space, Gohlke finds what D. H. Lawrence

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the December 1995 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.