Sleeping by the Mississippi
June 2 - July 24, 2004
Over the past five years, Soth has made numerous journeys from his hometown in Minneapolis down the Mississippi River to the Delta recording the eccentricity, unexpected beauty, profound mystery, and sadness of the people and places he discovers along the way. The artist’s masterful sense of composition and the startling clarity of the images realized with an 8 x 10″ view camera imbue the often-forlorn subject matter with an undeniable presence and the grandeur of Old Master paintings. Soth selects his subjects with an eye for the surreal and his images engage the viewer with dignified presentations of abandoned interiors, debris-laden landscapes, and portraits of fringe lifestyles that have the otherworldliness of a waking dream.
Soth records American life and landscape in the powerful photographic tradition beginning in the mid 19th century and extending to the work of such photographers as Walker Evans, Robert Frank, William Eggleston, and Joel Sternfeld, who was his teacher. His immense curiosity about his chosen subject compels him to approach selected individuals and engage them in conversation about their lives-permission to create a portrait of the person where they live is often granted. In both portraiture and landscape images, Soth carefully controls the placement of all elements in the composition and may carefully rearrange what he finds in the environment to effectively tell a story.