Taken in California, Hawaii, Iceland, and Oregon, Ron Jude’s monumental black and white photographs capture waterfalls, lava flows, sea cliffs, glacial valleys, and river currents. Yet Jude’s work is anything but traditional landscape photography, which often uses the conventions of nineteenth-century painting—emphatic horizon lines, majestic skies, distant vistas framed by trees—to privilege a human point of view. Instead, the photographs in this exhibition give primacy to the raw materials of the earth, suppressing human presence and, in the artist’s words, evoking “change on a level that falls outside the limits of our perception.”
The “12 Hz” of the exhibition title denotes the lowest limit of human hearing, suggesting the powerful yet often imperceptible forces that shape the physical world. Ron Jude: 12 Hz is accompanied by an audio installation by Joshua Bonnetta that combines field recordings with manipulated seismic recordings—the sound of the earth moving. Ground motion, without specialized equipment, is of a frequency too low for humans to hear—just as Jude’s photographs conceptualize our inability to see the forces behind earth’s constant state of flux.
Exploring the overlap between beauty, awe, and pathos, Ron Jude:12 Hz is a moving reminder that the earth is more powerful than us—yet through our own negligence, consumption, and hubris, we risk losing it all.
Photographs courtesy the artist and Gallery Luisotti, Los Angeles
Ron Jude: 12 Hz has been organized by the Barry Lopez Foundation for Art & Environment.