San Anselmo: Wayne Levin At Smith Anderson North

Wayne Levin, Body Surfers, 1983
Wayne Levin, Body Surfers, 1983

When I descend beneath the surface, I feel like I am Alice passing through the looking glass into a totally different world. Or am I Cocteau’s Orpheus passing through the mirror into the underworld? When I descend beneath the surface I am in a world with different rules, different truths.

Thus Levin describes his experience photographing off the coast of his adopted home of Hawai’i. The world he finds is both astonishingly graceful, a place where figures emerge soundlessly out of the murk, and strangely disorienting, subject to violent wave activity that appears like storm clouds above his shadowy divers. These coastal areas are also liminal zones where human and sea life collide and everything is equalized in the shared experience of weightlessness.

While celebrating the vast power of the Pacific, Levin’s images also point to the fragility of a supremely sophisticated and interconnected ecosystem in which humans are increasingly important players. The latest additions to this expansive body of work are images of coral reef bleaching due to warming waters off the Big Island–a haunting and omnipresent counterpoint to the grace and energy of his dolphins, divers and geometric schools of Akule.

Wayne Levin has been photographing the land and oceans since the early 1970s.

Exhibition Dates: February 20 – April 9, 2016
Closing reception & gallery talk with Wayne Levin: Saturday April 2nd, 6-9pm

Smith Andersen North
20 Greenfield Avenue
San Anselmo, CA 94960

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