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Thomas Wrede

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Beach, 2004. * 37 x 47 in.
Beach, 2004. * 37 x 47 in.
Thomas Wrede: Adrift at James Nicholson Gallery, January 6 – February 26, 2005


Thomas Wrede searches for sanctuary within an environment increasingly subjugated to man’s intrusion upon nature. Wrede’s desire for asylum amidst chaos sends him seeking refuge in the infinite spaces that seem to hover at the remote edges of the world. Adrift upon endless expanses of beach, snow, and sea, Wrede renders beautiful the quietude of landscape in large-scale images that lure the viewer into their vastness.

Beach, 2004 * 37 x 47 in.
Beach, 2004 * 37 x 47 in.
On the beach, Wrede captures large swaths of sand dotted with people—extremely sharp specks frozen in the kind of detail a medium format camera affords. In one image the barely perceptible line between shore and sea winds its way down the center of the print with beachgoers and colorful tents vanishing in the far distance into nothingness. Devoid of any locating devices, it is as if Wrede has stumbled upon a community of people that have come in search of the same lost paradise that he too seeks.


On the sea, Wrede captures individuals wandering in stillness across a seemingly unending marsh plain or standing in shallow water that appears to continue forever. Like those adrift upon land, the wanderers at sea seem without purpose or destination, they are simply at home in this place where they have been frozen in time. The same can be said of the ships that Wrede photographs at sea. Here, he bends the film plane of his view camera, coaxing impossible depths of field into a single image, transforming gigantic sea-faring specimens into toy-like scenes.

All of these photographs share the feeling that the viewer could be anywhere. Nowhere does this anonymity of place more secure the viewer’s ability to lose him or herself within the landscape than in Wrede’s images of snow. Although they are completely devoid of human presence, they are not free from the author’s trace. Wrede playfully places fake plastic fir trees amongst an icy windswept landscape seemingly littered with sharp mountainous peaks. What seems at first to be an incredible vantage point reveals itself to be an otherworldly scene of his own construction.


Thomas Wrede is based in Muenster, Germany and has won numerous German photography awards. Art in America (May 2004) named his seascape photos a highlight of the 2004 Scope art fair in New York. This will be Thomas Wrede’s second exhibition at James Nicholson Gallery, having made his west coast debut at the gallery in November 2003 with Strange Paradise.


* All images - Lambdaprint mounted on aluminum with Plexiglas face.



Tannen Krater, 2004 * 47 x 59 in.
Tannen Krater, 2004 * 47 x 59 in.

Thomas Wrede: Adrift
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