May 7th – June 6th, 2013
Mark Twain once wrote “buy land, they are not making it anymore.” While only one-fourth of the Earth is covered in land, it has always been the central focus of politics, religion, and art. For most the term ‘underwater’ conjures up images of bustling aquatic life, ever changing shades of blue and green, and forgotten relics of the past. It is a world some fear, while others only dare to explore the borders between land and water. The Empty Quarter dives into this unknown place where man is absent, and brings light to all of its vulnerability, beauty, and secrets. Through Alex Kirkbride’s and Ali Bin Thalith’s works the viewer is submerged in a realm where ordinary becomes extraordinary when superimposed under several meters of water. Their works question the viewer’s understanding of just what lies beneath surface.
Alex Kirkbride has been fascinated with life underwater for most of his life, but it was not until a shoot in 1998 which got him truly involved in underwater photography. In 2002 when he embarked on a journey across the 50 US States titled American Waters. While his works can be viewed without borders one thing remains crystal, his works alter the general perception of water, what lives in it, how we contain it, and what is deposited in it.
Ali Bin Thalith’s series From the Beneath comes from photographs taken in Indonesia, Malaysia, and from the Maldives Islands, where his deep diving expeditions yield images of underwater life rarely seen before. His focus on the solidarity of sea creatures, camouflaged from the rest of the world mirrors the loneliness most people face everyday. The photographs work on a dual level of not only exposing the busy yet tranquil life underwater, but also each of his portraits of marine life capture a human emotion. No Man’s Land may be absent of man, but far from absent of vitality.
Ali Bin Thalith