EXURBIA- Photography by Edward Wilkinson Latham

New York City Exhibition: Exurbia at "The Blow Up Gallery"

At Exurbia by Peter Yeadon

At the time of Exurbia, there were city walls. In fact, one could not exist without the other. In cutting a trench around the city, the making of city walls defined that which was Urban and that which was Exurban, a distinction between civility and wilderness. For one to be banished from the city, meant that they were without society, cast onto the terrain of ignorance.

We no longer surround our citizens with city walls. They have either fallen or become consumed by urban growth. In the wake of these developments, the spatial threshold between Urbanity and Exurbia has arguably widened and become ambiguous. This is the site of Edward Wilkinson-Latham's photographic works. Wilkinson-Latham enters onto this site as an artificer, intent on clarifying and fortifying the memory of a place.

He has focused his cameras on the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. His photographs are imbued with the passage of time. Site as palimpsest. For Wilkinson-Latham, the Genius Loci is contained in this residue. Hence we discover the marks of occupation, regardless of how ephemeral that inhabitation might be, such as oil deposits upon a parking lot and traces of picture frames upon a wall or tires upon the land. And we are witnesses to abandonment, where nature occupies a hapless, artificial terrain. Here, amidst the cockroaches and rust of weathering materials, a fascination with the slow emergence of hopelessness is parlayed into a record of dereliction. Here, too, the patina of surfaces demarcates a threshold into Exurbia. Although this work is ongoing, perhaps the clearest evidence of Exurbia is in Wilkinson-Latham's incomplete pink house. This façade of insulation, with a complement of finished houses in the background, vacillates between what was and what might be. All at once, Exurbia is represented as both here and there, then and now.

Peter Yeadon

"Peter Yeadon

Exurbia by EWL © 2002