Contis’s photographs capture the strange beauty of macro and microcosmic views in the high desert. The indistinguishableness of earth and body and the sensual echoes of human and animal give her works an Ovidian sense of imminent metamorphoses. – Lawrence Rinder
The images in Sam Contis's Deep Springs were made in a remote desert valley east of the Sierra Nevada. The work centres on a small, all-male liberal arts college, founded in 1917 by the educational pioneer L. L. Nunn.
The college and its surroundings provide a stage on which Contis explores the construction of myth, place, and masculine identity. Bringing together new photographs with pictures made by the first students at the college a century ago, Deep Springs engages with the enduring image of the American West––one that Hollywood, mass media, and the history of American photography have imprinted into the collective psyche.
Sam Contis lives and works in California. Her work is represented in the collections of LACMA, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of American Art and has recently been exhibited in solo shows at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery in New York. In 2018, her work will be on view in “Being: New Photography” at the Museum of Modern Art. Deep Springs is her first book.