VICTORIA SAMBUNARIS (American, b. 1964)
Untitled (coal mine-99pit), Coaldale, PA, 2007
39 x 55 inches (unframed)
Each year, Victoria Sambunaris structures her life around a photographic journey traversing the American landscape. Equipped with a 5x7 inch field camera, film, a video camera and research material, she crosses the country alone by car for several months per year. Her large-scale photographs document the continuing transformation of the American landscape with specific attention given to expanding political and industrial interventions.
Sambunaris completed a 3-year project in 2011 along the 2000-mile border between the US and Mexico concentrating on the intersection of geology, industry and culture along the international boundary This work prompted her most recent work examining the petrochemical, trade and energy infrastructure occurring throughout the United States, which is ultimately integral to the Texas Gulf coast region.
Over the years, she found herself drawn not only to the magnificence of open land, dramatic vistas, and vast skies – the landscape as such - but also to the recurring sprawl of housing developments punctuated by windowless manufacturing plants, massive distribution warehouses, the endless rows of parked trucks and containers stacked on trains, massive mining operations, infinite pipelines and other stages where nature meets culture unexpectedly.
Her ongoing series, “Taxonomy of a Landscape,” encompasses 16 years of work including the images and the collected ephemera that form the essential and incidental elements of her work as a photographer and researcher. This work includes video documentation of experiences and observations on the road: snapshots, maps, road logs, journals, geology and history books, mineral specimens and artifacts.
Sambunaris received her MFA from Yale University in 1999. She is the recipient of the 2010 Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship and the 2010 Anonymous Was a Woman Award. In 2011, “Taxonomy of a Landscape” debuted at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery in Baltimore, the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and the Rubin Center, University of Texas, El Paso.
Her work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Yale University Art Gallery; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; the Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago and the Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe. Her first monograph was published by Radius Books in 2014.