Architectural details of Nevada City’s carefully preserved Victorian buildings and historical sites, and the lush landscapes that surround it are all captured with remarkable clarity in the new work that comprises Danh’s exhibition. Juxtaposed against these timeless scenes are details that reveal their contemporary nature: sleek cars and trendy storefronts, figures in contemporary clothing, and signs of new industries. Reflected in each silvery image is a history of adventure and imagination, in shaping Nevada City and in photography.
Through this latest body of work, Danh examines the history of Nevada City against the history of photography and the medium’s pioneers. Images of Nevada City residents speak to the daguerreotype’s most prominent uses—the portrait, while stunning California vistas consciously evoke the work of Ansel Adams and Carleton Watkins. After the Gold Rush also pays quiet homage to the pioneering work of Julia Ann Rudolph, one of the few professional women photographers working in America in 19th century. Rudolph set up a thriving studio in Nevada City in 1856, and her early images of the town’s thoroughfares and residents create an historical antecedent to Danh’s contemporary daguerreotypes.
Established during the California Gold Rush in 1849, Nevada City was once the most important mining town in the state. In the 170 years since, it has slowly evolved with each shift in local industry and population demographics. Following the Nisenan Native Americans, who initially settled the land, Nevada City has been home to successive waves of miners, loggers, and Chinese pioneers who informed its early development; later, it was reimagined as a return to nature by the Back-to-the Landers, who were drawn to its location at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, Nevada City sees its character changing once again with the tourist industry, the Green Rush from the now-legal cannabis industry, and increasing presence of those working remotely for Bay Area tech companies. Danh is the first artist from Haines Gallery to utilize the Nevada City residency in some time. A forthcoming project from photographer John Chiara, the result of a multi-part stay, will debut in 2020.
Binh Danh: After the Gold Rush
Exhibition Dates: September 5 – November 2, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
49 Geary Street, Suite 540
San Francisco, CA 94108