Rift/Fault – Landscape Photographs of the North American Continental Plate

May 29th, 2015 – December 6th, 2015
Atrium Gallery – Marshall Fine Arts Center
​Fall Hours: (September 1–December 6th, 2015)

Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekends: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The North American Plate, the tectonic plate on which most of our continent sits, is moving. At the Plate’s eastern boundary along the Atlantic Rift, in Iceland where the North Atlantic Plate meets the Eurasian Plate, the two tectonic plate edges are pulling apart resulting in vistas that are unstable and raw. But on its western edge, where the North American Plate meets the Pacific Plate along California’s San Andreas Fault the plates are scraping against each other the landscape is often striking in its visual normalcy, despite the massive shifting of the plates that is happening miles below.

These are the diverse landscapes that are captured by photographer Marion Belanger in Rift/Fault – Landscape Photographs of the North American Continental Plate, her first one-woman exhibition in the Philadelphia area. Belanger’s large-format color images document the splitting earth, steaming hot water, volcanic eruptions, and tree-less lava landscapes of the eastern edge of the plate; as well as the more familiar California topographies that make up the western boundary, despite the dramatic scraping and locking of plates that’s taking place underground, causing that region’s earthquake activity.

The concepts of persistence and change inform Berlanger’s clear and precise view of the ways that boundaries along the edges of the North American Plate demarcate differences. The photographs serve as both records and interpretations of physical spaces that are subject to sudden and violent change. Yet life in all of its quotidian forms continues with the rise and setting of the sun. These pictures are informed by extensive research conducted by the photographer before travelling to the outer edges of the Plate, and they challenge our sense of time and place by making manifest that boundaries and the land are not fixed.

Belanger earned her M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art, where she was the recipient of both the John Ferguson Weir Award and the Schickle-Collingwood Prize, and her B.F.A. from the College of Art & Design at Alfred University. Her photographs are included in many permanent collections including the Library of Congress, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and Haverford College. She has received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a John Anson Kittredge Award, and an American Scandinavian Fellowship, and has been an artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Virginia Center for the Arts. For more information on the artist: www.marionbelanger.com.