Catalyst Conversations: This Land: Laura McPhee and Taylor Perron

February 23, 2017
Event Types
Talk / Lecture
Guests are seated on small stools around a woman with dark hair and glasses who is leading the lecture inside the gallery space.

Gallery talk as part of Gwenneth Boelens: At Odds at MIT List Visual Arts Center in 2017.

Renowned photographer Laura McPhee and MIT geologist Taylor Perron will share their concern for the American landscape through their respective projects and will discuss how they each bring awareness to the evolution of land and landscape. McPhee’s images invite contemplation about the unintended consequences of humanity’s attempts to control and manage nature and ask how we use the earth and to what ends. Perron uses fieldwork, remote imaging techniques and computer simulations to discover how landscapes change through time. Many questions arise: How do scientists use images to evaluate and understand issues facing the environment? How do these same issues affect the choices made by artists like McPhee? How do both science and art bring awareness to the public, an awareness we need now more than ever?

About the Speakers

Laura McPhee is noted for her stunning large-scale landscapes and portraits of the people who live and work in them.  She is currently working in the desert west of the United States where she is chronicling visual stories about time, both geologic and human. She has a BA in Art History from Princeton University, and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. McPhee has received many awards, among them a Fulbright Fellowship, a residency in Idaho from the Alturas Foundation, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship. Ms. McPhee is a Professor of Photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Taylor Perron is Associate Professor of Geology and Chair of the Program in Geology, Geochemistry and Geobiology at MIT. He studies how landscapes form and evolve on Earth and other planets, at scales ranging from ripples in sand to oceans on Mars. Perron is a recipient of the Luna Leopold Award and the James B. Macelwane Medal of the American Geophysical Union. He holds an AB in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Archaeology from Harvard University and a PhD in Earth and Planetary Science from the University of California, Berkeley.