Lee Saloutos: Nevada Mines, American Prisons

21 March - 30 November 2021
Video
Overview

 In Saloutos's work, buildings appear fragile, delicate, inherently temporary. And when they are absent, as in his panoramic works, a grand minimalism takes over and the ages-old activity of the planet itself becomes the work's theme.

The results of carefully researched, weeks-long shoots in locations across the country that are frequently isolated and forbidding, the landscape, interior, and close-up surface images produced by veteran photographer Lee Saloutos are highly detailed and richly atmospheric. These are works that transport the viewer to locations that, while usually unidentified, evoke nonetheless the unending action of the elements and the inexorable passage of time. Even more than this, they hint at a narrative of national decline, the gradual weathering of man-made structures and forms seeming to resonate with the collapse of American manufacturing industry, for example, and the national crisis in incarceration.

In depicting interiors-often of buildings to which access is hard to come by-Saloutos identifies affecting contrasts between the quality of light within the space and its established function or history. His shots of abandoned prisons around the US, for example, or of abandoned mining sites in Nevada, reveal a certain harsh beauty, a sun-bleached poignancy that their physical disrepair only exacerbates. His landscapes too show how the earth tends to assert itself-often through sheer sublime scale-over our attempts to mark it with permanent impressions. In Saloutos's work, buildings appear fragile, delicate, inherently temporary. And when they are absent, as in his panoramic works, a grand minimalism takes over and the ages-old activity of the planet itself becomes the work's theme.

That Saloutos should be sensitive to industry isn't entirely surprising; he began his undergraduate education in the Fine Art program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, but changed track to pursue a degree in electrical engineering and launch a career in technology. He thus diverged early on from a conventional artistic route, but this scientific specialization still leaves a mark on his art. While relatively unconcerned with recent technical developments in picture-making-he prefers traditional film and keeps digital manipulation of his images to a bare minimum-Saloutos does reflect on the ways in which human interaction with the natural world is colored by the processes of industry and commerce. In selecting subjects for his extended series, he focuses on our use and abuse of environmental resources-as well as nature's entropic 'revenge' for our attempts at ongoing exploitation.

Lee Saloutos has been the subject of solo exhibitions at venues including Artspace Gallery, Richmond, VA (2003 and 2007); Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA (2010 and 2014); Nicolaysen Art Museum, Casper, WY (2012); Saint Mary's College Museum of Art, Moraga, CA (2013); and the Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, CA (2018). His work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions at venues including Artspace Gallery, Page Bond Gallery, and 1212 Gallery (all Richmond, VA); Louisville Center for the Arts, Louisville, CO; Martin Museum of Art, Waco, TX; Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA; and Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita, KS.

Saloutos's work is included in numerous collections including those of the Department of State, Washington, D. C.; Churchill Art Center, Fallon, NV; and Nicolaysen Art Museum, Casper, WY; as well as in several based in Richmond, VA, including the Federal Reserve Bank, American Infrastructure, and Hourigan Construction. Saloutos is also the winner of awards including second place in the National Juried Photography Exhibition at 1212 Gallery, Richmond, VA; first place in the architecture category at the 5th Annual Pollux Awards, WPGA, York, UK (2014); and silver in architecture and industrial at the Moscow International Foto Awards (2019). His work has been published and written about in print and online journals including B&W + Color, The Photo Review, SHOTS, eXel, and Lenscratch.

Lee Saloutos is represented by Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA.

 

Created in response to the Pandemic, this special solo exhibition is installed in Cross Contemporary Partners' Virtual 3-D Gallery with the illusion of 18 feet high ceilings and over 250 running feet of exhibit space.

Visit Lee Saloutos' Nevada Mines/American Prisons here: http://bit.ly/nvminesusprisons

Works
Installation Views