Merging abstraction and symbolism, All Consumed initiates a conversation about water as a valuable natural resource and the environmental implications of our consumeristic consumption of brand name bottled water. A fourth-generation Coloradan, Emrich is deeply concerned with issues such as water commodification, scarcity, and waste. More a camera-based artist than a traditional photographer, Emrich combines his own work with the pristine alpine imagery favored by bottled water advertisers, fabricating landscapes using water-bottle labels and molded plastic blister packs, ultimately photographing them with a view camera. The resulting monumental digital prints utilize the bold graphics and bright colors of the packaging, creating visually stunning work that elevates disposable trash into art, while questioning our concepts of beauty and the impact of consumerism on our water supply. The mountain peaks and rushing rivers of the advertising imagery, combined with the shapes and contours of plastic bottles and packaging, comment on consumer manipulation through ad art, growing water scarcity and how consumerism, and its detritus, impact water sources.
In conjunction with the Denver Art Museum exhibition, New Territory: Landscape Photography Today, Robischon Gallery presents Gary Emrich: All Consumed. Work from this series is featured in New Territory, which explores unconventional contemporary landscape photography from around the world. For All Consumed, Emrich combines artist-generated and appropriated imagery to create distorted yet familiar landscapes.
Emrich’s career spans thirty years. Represented by Robischon Gallery since 2006, he has work in private and public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Denver Art Museum, and the Belger Museum in Kansas City. Emrich has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
All Consumed runs through August 25, 2018, at Robischon Gallery in Denver.