Michael Namingha – Black Place Series Statement

Black Place Series

I began to create this series in the spring of 2017. I started to explore the landscape that Georgia O’Keefe called the “Black Place”, first through satellite images of the area. I discovered through these images the amount of natural gas and oil infrastructure that oil companies had made in the surrounding area. In April of that year, I ventured to the site of “Black Place, with the curators Carolyn Kastner and Cody Hartley. I took my drone with me to photograph the region as well as to take video footage. Upon arrival I realized just how fragile this landscape is and the drone provided a way for to see the area up close and personal without having to disturb it. The area is very otherworldly and foreign

These images provide the viewer with an abstracted composition, which is how I first encountered O’Keefe’s depiction of “Black Place”. The Skewed perspectives in the pieces were inspired by having seen opera set designs. I noticed how set designers skew the set to trick the eye. I want to take that same approach to a two-dimensional image of a photograph. The colors in the pieces relate to what is currently happening in the region that surrounds “Black Place”. About three years ago NASA discovered the largest methane gas cloud in North American in this area. The satellite images of the cloud show up as red and hot pink. On my visit to the area, I encountered many yellow poles sticking out from the ground along the roads, these markers indicate where a pipeline is located underground. In pieces where I used black to hide the image I used this to present a pice of the landscape that may not be there someday.

-Michael Namingha