Mt. Meru, India
image: 10.5" x 10.5", paper: 16" x 15.5"
edition of 10
Over the past decade and a half, my work has revolved around the intersection of digital imaging, landscape, and abstraction. This latest body of work focuses, in particular, on satellite images of sacred mountains around the world—places where heaven and earth are thought to meet. The phenomenon of revering mountains as holy sites is a pattern that is found in many different cultures and this sense of universality drew me to the subject.
This universality of experience finds a visual echo in the ubiquity of images of the earth that are now available to any person with a computer and an Internet connection. What does the specificity of place mean when we can move across the surface of the earth in seconds and reduce everything to a series of pixels? That process seemed to me reminiscent of abstraction in painting, which transforms the specific into gesture, pure form and sensation.
Rather than treat digital technology as necessarily destructive to human meaning and experience, my work attempts to find out if new ways of seeing are reconcilable with the old. To this end, I combine traditional materials, painting, ink and brush drawing, photogravure, intaglio printing with the use of screen-shots, digital printing.
Many of the works are laid out on a grid, which represents the arbitrary conversion of the visual world into a flat space that happens both on the picture plane and in data processing. Some of the images are configured like scroll paintings, combining a very ancient convention of organizing visual information with the way we now move through digital space, i.e. “scrolling.”
The title of this body of work, “Axis Mundi,” refers to the belief in many different religious and philosophical traditions in a “world center or universal center,” often conceived of as mountain: a place where communication between higher and lower realms is possible. The work is a search for such a center in a world of decentralization and fragmentation.
Beth Ganz was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. She received her BFA from Pratt Institute where she graduated with honors. For over 35 years, she has lived and worked in New York City. Her practice incorporates painting, printmaking, photography and collage. She is a long time member of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and is an instructor at Manhattan Graphics Center where she teaches photogravure and other intaglio methods.
Solo shows include ATLAS PROJECT in 2017 at Cynthia Reeves, Mass MoCA, Geothermal Topographies at CYNTHIA-REEVES, NYC and High Latitude at AFP Gallery, NYC. Her work has been included in many two person and group shows nationally and internationally. She is well represented in many private, museum and corporate collections including; The Hofstra Museum, New York Historical Society, New York Public Library Prints Collection, Library of Congress, US Department of State Art Bank, World Trade Center Memorial Museum, Johnson and Johnson, Legg Mason, Squib Corporation and Tommy Hilfiger Corporation, among others. Her work has been featured in Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, in the movie "You, Me and Dupree", and most recently seen in Season 3 of "Billions" on HBO and season 3 of "The Path" on Hulu.