Clouds, electronics, fog, bugs, glass, cellophane, rust, weeds, waves, particles: Mike Slack (born 1970) delves into an overheated terrestrial ecosystem in his new book The Transverse Path (or Nature’s Little Secret), surveying a luminous topography of monumental details and mundane vistas alike with cosmic curiosity. Transcendental in mood, Slack’s vaguely sci-fi photographs envision a sun-blasted wilderness of synthetic and organic stuff tangled together, flourishing and disintegrating on its own terms, as if engaged in an ageless negotiation (or flirtation?) just beyond our grasp. Where does nature end and its opposite begin? And where do people figure into this balance?
Made primarily around the American Southwest from 2011 to 2017, these vivid photographs—like a series of thought bubbles in search of a narrative—are concise and direct, yet driven by an emotional ambivalence that hovers between stark environmental dread and calm intimate reverie.
Mike Slack lives and works in Los Angeles. His books include Walking in Place 1: New Orleans, Shrubs of Death, Ok Ok Ok, Scorpio, and Pyramids. His photographs are in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.