Stephen Wolf | Dry Eye

Stephen Wolf

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Dry Eye


Dark City gallery

Loading dock, Yuma, Arizona, 2007, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Algodones, Mexico, 2007, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Lettuce field scarecrow, Yuma, Arizona 2007, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Overpass, Cabazon, California, 2009, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Trailer park cowboy, Yuma, Arizona, 2007, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Creationist Tyrannosaurus, Cabazon, California, 2012, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Zion National Park, Utah 2009, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Wildfire smoke canopy, Temecula, California, 2007, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

El Centro, California, 2007, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Baker, California, 2007, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Quartzsite, Arizona, 2007, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

Broken Venus, Moapa, Nevada, 2007, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


Dark City gallery

LA River, Los Angeles, California, 2008, archival inkjet print, 30" x 40"


The American West holds a mythic place in the nation's psyche. It is the place of Westward Expansion, of Manifest Destiny. It is the place where hundreds of thousands of pioneers sought their fortunes. It is the place of untold suffering and destruction wrought by white newcomers who cruelly and remorselessly decimated a diverse, entrenched indigenous population.

The Western dream is the American dream, its mythology cemented in the hearts and minds of generations of Americans by the movies. (Among the first successful motion pictures was a Western, "The Great Train Robbery," which ignited a wildfire: the Western movie genre, which remained enduringly popular for over 50 years, and continues, despite periodic health lapses, to this day.) The West is a place where, according to Hollywood: men were men (who had to do what men had to do); women were either helpmates, furniture or arm candy; and nature (of which Native Americans were but an especially unruly part) was to be tamed. Its stories were raw and essential -- good versus evil, right versus wrong, white hats versus black hats. Its landscape was bare, rugged and honest, and, typically, dry.

These images look at the American West with a jaded eye. They do not attempt to further glorify the West's undeniably glorious vistas. Nor do they seek to honor the sacrifice of the thousands who sacrificed to civilize the Wilderness. These images reflect what is actually here, not an imagined, storied past. This is the West of highway overpasses, fake dinosaurs, asphalt parking lots, concreted rivers and giant cowboys. These represent the hard-won spoils of America's Western dream.