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2019 Group Show – Clay Lipsky's Atomic Overlook

photo-eye Gallery 2019 Group Show
Clay Lipsky's Atomic Overlook
Profile by Alexandra Jo photo-eye Gallery is pleased to feature two images from Lipsky’s Atomic Overlook in our 2019 Group Show.
Profile by Alexandra Jo

Clay Lipsky – Atomic Overlook: 02, 2012, Archival Pigment Print, 16x16" Image, Edition of 10, $1000 

When looking at Clay Lipsky’s photographs in the series Atomic Overlook it becomes difficult to firmly place the images in a specific period of time. By layering historical images of atomic explosions with original photographs of tourists, Lipsky creates a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world in which people watch atom bombs for entertainment. However, the clothing and details of the people in the photographs feel familiar and current. It becomes clear that a line is being drawn between our present moment and what the future of our society may hold.

According to Lipsky’s artist statement: “This series re-contextualizes a legacy of atomic bomb tests in order to keep the ongoing nuclear threat fresh and omnipresent. It also speaks to the current state of the world, a voyeuristic, tourist-filled culture where catastrophe is viewed as entertainment by increasingly desensitized masses.”

Clay Lipsky – Atomic Overlook: 19, 2013
Archival Pigment Print, 16x16" Image Edition of 10, $1000
Indeed, the shifting temporal quality in Atomic Overlook does bring up important questions about the roles of entertainment, politics, and the media in our culture today, and what this implies for society’s future. Where is the line between politics and entertainment? What are the implications of a voyeuristic culture that watches catastrophe from a safe distance, but never acts due to apathy or inability? Mass desensitization to broader environmental and social threats is also an issue addressed in the work that I’m personally very drawn in by. I enjoy Lipsky’s use of the atomic mushroom cloud as a symbol for both scientific progress and the horrific destructive powers that man has created. “Progress” has revealed itself to be a double-edged sword. In this body of work, it is easy to make broader connections to the threats of global warming, industrialization, and pollution in addition to the ever-present looming of the potential for nuclear war.

The photomontage techniques Lipsky uses to create each image are so seamless that visualizing a future in which atomic explosions are a mundane occurrence becomes effortless. The colors, handling of scale, for me, are part of what makes the work so effective in conveying its message.

photo-eye Gallery is pleased to feature two images from Lipsky’s Atomic Overlook in our 2019 Group Show. Lipsky’s work was included in Atomic Playground, an exhibition at photo-eye’s Project Space in 2018, and also featured on the Photographer's Showcase in 2015.

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For more information, and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or

All prices listed were current at the time this post was published. Prices will increase as the print editions sell.

2019 Group Show
on view through April 20, 2019

» View work from the exhibition

Select Included Artists:

» Julie Blackmon
» Kate Breakey
» Mitch Dobrowner
» Michael Kenna
» Clay Lipsky
» Beth Moon
» James Pitts 
» Reuben Wu 
» Brad Wilson 

photo-eye Gallery – 541 S. Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 | VIEW MAP