In her New York exhibition “The Critical Zone,” artist Katherine Wolkoff confronts viewers with climate change’s assault on nature and its beauty. Traveling through the western United States, she took breathtaking photos of earth’s “critical zone”: the area from treetops to water underground which is increasingly devastated by climate change every day. Wolkoff forces us to see those changes through a dreamy black-and-white lens, dramatizing what we’re losing: Icebergs are melting in plain sight, wildfires have decimated forests, invasive species are destroying ecosystems, and hurricanes are churning up black sand, which liters beaches with oil. With this show at Benrubi Gallery in Chelsea, Wolkoff inspires environmental action.
“It’s a bit of a pivot in my work from very specific typologies of the natural world to a much larger investigation of how our landscape is changing — the realities of climate change, the Anthropocene, and the specific moment we’re living in,” she said. “It’s a completely subjective point of view about the landscape. It’s not fact-based, like documentary photography is with climate change. It’s really personal, and it’s my point of view. My Dad was an environmentalist, and my mom was a science teacher, so I grew up very much in that world.”
See a selection of photos from the exhibition below. “The Critical Zone” will be on view at Benrubi Gallery through March 2.