REVIEWS

RUINS

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Ruins – the Colosseum, Angkor Wat and the like – are powerful icons of fallen glory. The “ruins” Beth Dow photographs were built that way. They are commercial structures that imitate famous buildings. My Big Fat Greek Pizza Joint, for instance, is in a building that appears to be made of weathered marble with columns, capitals and other elements of classical architecture. But pizza joint it is, and the Parthenon it ain’t. The wackiest ruin is “The White House,” a tourist attraction that looks like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after having been picked up by a tornado and dropped on the ground upside down. There is the “Leaning Tower” with an American flag on top. A section of the “Colosseum” appears behind a cyclone fence in a water park. And an enormous, troubled-looking “Trojan Horse” is encircled by a go-kart track. These buildings mock the structures they are designed to resemble, but in a way they also honor the reverence we feel in the presence of the originals. Ms. Dow’s platinum-palladium prints have the look of 19th century photographs of actual antiquities, a final jest.”
— William Meyers, April 25, 2009

THE VILLAGE VOICE

“The frontiers of photography were at Jen Bekman, with Beth Dow’s platinum-palladium-print photographs of Ruins – actual sites in the Wisconsin Dells based on ancient ruins, like a faux Greek temple housing “My Big, Fat Greek Pizza Joint.” Dow exemplifies the new ethos in photography, both its 19th-century-revivalist aesthetics and the tactic popular among young photographers of using digital technology for processing, but not for compositional trickery.”
— Martha Schwendener, April 29, 2009

FIELDWORK

THE NEW YORKER

“This photographer’s New York début is smartly understated—modest but memorable. Dow’s images of woods and fields nod to the landscape tradition reaching from Eugène Atget to Robert Adams, and their quiet beauty is underlined by the richness of her platinum-palladium prints. Dealing with the overfamiliar subject of man’s rude intrusion into the natural world, she’s not always subtle—stacked logs and felled limbs abound—but she knows when to step back and allow an image to breathe. Her pictures of a lone tree in a row of stumps and a pile of smoking stubble under a sad gray sky aren’t just taken; they’re felt.”
— Vince Aletti, December 3, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

“In 19 monochrome photos of modest landscapes, Minneapolis photographer Beth Dow meditates on often-overlooked surroundings — small heaps of worksite gravel that sprawl like a ridge of low hills, nets of dead vines engulfing scrubby river-bottom trees, a circle of immense stones punctuating a bucolic British landscape, an ancient willow with a broken limb, bare tree limbs scraping the sky. All of her photos are taken in what she calls “the precarious seasons of late fall and early spring, when everything hangs between life, death, and life again. Printed on paper coated with a specially mixed platinum-palladium solution, the images are unusually luminous and detailed, yet still sketchy. Resembling delicate etchings, they seem truly drawn with light, which is the original meaning of the word “photo-graphy.” By finding poetry in such humble, neglected and utilitarian vistas, Dow affirms the value and vitality of the ordinary.”
— Mary Abbe, May 18, 2007