Orion Tide

Kelly Richardson


In keeping with Kelly Richardson’s interest in the language of cinema and science fiction, her latest video installation and large-scale photographic work, Orion Tide, features a desert landscape at night, dotted with what appear to be numerous spacecraft or vessels leaving planet earth. Their sheer number suggests that this might be a forced exodus from a place that has become barren, at a juncture in the distant future. Or is it the onset of contemporary space exploration on a grand scale?

Like much of Richardson’s work, the landscape pictured in Orion Tide is digitally constituted, evoking grandiosity, ruggedness, and a sense of being in an unspecified but decidedly unfamiliar place. Richardson plays with the conventions of science fiction cinema by depicting a scene based in a sublime visual realness, unmoored from a clear point in time. Both beautiful and terrifying, these apocalyptic images ask the viewer to consider the stakes of the environmental, economic, and political trajectories on which we find ourselves.

Orion Tide premieres at Birch Libralato in parallel with Kelly Richardson’s 15-year retrospective at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.