Friday March 4th marks the art opening of 111 Minna Gallery’s dual photography exhibition, “Lost America” by Troy Paiva and “Fairy Tale Animals” by Peter Samuels. Troy Paiva’s body of work is a thoughtful selection of hauntingly desolate scenes he’s captured over the past twenty-five years. Samuels, who has a similar aesthetic for capturing the untouchable, showcases the prestige of live animals patiently coaxed into being photographed.
Since Paiva began working in the 1980s, he has gone from using a single flash light and gel swatches to a full-spectrum LED flash light capable of producing millions of colors.
“Lost America” reworks Paiva’s images into six-foot tall prints of desert scenes and abandoned rooms and vehicles that pull viewers in with the same overwhelming sensation of decrepit isolation that were alluring to him upon exploration.
“Planet Claire” (2014) taken in the Mohave Desert
“I love the isolation, desolation, the terminalness of it,” said Paiva. “Sometimes the sadness, the failure is palpable.”
Paiva, who’s work has appeared on several Stephen King novels,is a native of the Bay Area and has always been drawn to ruins and potentially haunted sites. His natural attraction to the American West was constructed through years of traversing its gaping landscapes through places like Joshua Tree and the Grand Canyon.
Under the light of the full moon, and sometimes a single colored flashlight, he’s snuck onto locations (or with permission, entered spaces) to take extended time exposures that succeed in capturing both the glamour and defeat of America’s past.
Bobby Peru’s Room (2013), Abandoned motel, Mount Montgomery, Nevada
“The desert is my favorite milieu because it’s big and remote,” said Paiva. “Things can sit out there, miles from anything, untouched for years.”
Influenced by books and movies like George Stewart’s Earth Abides and Stephen King’s The Stand, Paiva’s photography has evolved to depict an apocalyptic world populated by the things left once humans have discarded them.
The colorful lighting he uses to illuminate otherwise uninhabited geography also originates from these cinematic infatuations, with highlights creating mood and dynamic in similar ways a movie or book could tell a story.
“Postmarked by the Moon” (2012), shot in Cantil, California, Troy Paiva
+++ “Lost America” and “Fairy Tale Animales” will be on display through March 26th. The Friday opening reception from 5-11pm will showcase over 20 of Paiva’s prints enlivened by tunes from DJ Bald Elvis.
Visit Paiva’s online collection of photography, which date back to 1998, on his website here.