Between Planting and Picking



Sandi Haber Fifield

March 3 - April 16, 2011

Opening March 3rd, to celebrate the end of winter and to anticipate spring, Rick Wester Fine Art will present an exhibition of recent color photographs by Sandi Haber Fifield, selected from her upcoming monograph, Between Planting and Picking (Charta, 2011). Beginning in June 2009 through the fall of 2010, Haber Fifield photographed family owned farms spanning New England to the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest. Teeming with the verdant and lush colors of these fertile fields, Haber Fifield made pictures that delicately balance the geographic with the geometric, while using the agricultural landscape to create a complex vocabulary of visual associations. Less documentary and more about her personal vision, she finds a metaphor in the unending cycle of growth and harvest for her own image-making.

Departing from her previously published body of work, Walking Through the World (Charta, 2009), where she explored the relationships between pictures in multiple image configurations, the photographs on exhibit reflect her roots in the photography of the late 1970's. Haber Fifield entered the world of photography during the moment when New Topographics radically altered the approach to landscape photography. Many of her new images pay homage to that time while retaining her own distinct sensibility. Her perception of color and light evokes the viewpoints of Stephen Shore's saturated color landscapes, with particular attention towards the warm summer light's effect on the land. In Between Planting and Picking, Haber Fifield explores the candid beauty and improvised quality discovered in the edges of small farm environments. In her essay from the book, Leslie K. Brown expresses her "...share[d] company with early color photographers who focused on the vernacular and celebrated the ordinary, but her tendencies also align with painting from even earlier eras... Within the sequence, viewpoints alternate between inside and outside, near and far. Gradually, we realize that materials, shapes, and colors subtly repeat." Throughout the series of photographs, Haber Fifield reminds us of the inevitable human presence behind each composition. The images, highly considered in form, mimic the way we shape and structure the land. Between Planting and Picking takes the viewer on a journey of exploration through the art of lingering, not moving on, consistently building on the artist's complex visual vocabulary.

Sandi Haber Fifield has been making photographs since she received her MFA from Rochester Institiute of Technology. Soon after completing her degree, Haber Fifield was awarded a New York State CAPS Grant. Her photographs have been widely exhibited and included in exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago, The DeCordova Museum, The Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, The Oakland Museum, The Southeast Museum of Photography, and The St. Louis Art Museum. Additionally, her work has been shown in numerous galleries such as Gallery Kayafas, Jim Kempner Fine Art, Michael Mazzeo Gallery, Miller Block, Amy Simon Fine Art and Laurence Miller Gallery. Museums collecting her work include The Brooklyn Museum, The George Eastman House, The High Museum, Los Angeles County Museum, MoMA, The Oakland Museum and the New Britain Museum, among others.