by Janet Dees (Author), Renate Aller (Photographer)
This new project by German-born photographer Renate Aller is an extension of the ongoing series and book Oceanscapes (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 sociopolitical awareness. There is both a visual and visceral relationship between the two bodies of work. 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 handmade book that was 36 inches wide. The overwhelming success of that publication has inspired this new trade edition, which features the largest binding that can be mechanically bound and includes an expanded selection of the work.
Born in Germany, Renate Aller lives and works in New York. Ocean and Desert is her third monograph published with Radius Books, following Dicotyledon and long-term project Oceanscapes-One View-Ten Years. Pieces from that series and other site-specific artworks 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.; Yale University Art Gallery, Connecticut; the George Eastman House, Rochester; New Britain Museum of American Art; Hambuger Kunsthalle; and the Chazen Museum of Art, Madison.