In the nine panoramic photographs that make up All the Worlds, Susan Wides tracks her lens on our everyday drama and urban spectacle as both observers and participants in the theatrum mundi of our city’s streets. She illuminates the moments of struggle and transcendence in the many worlds that we collectively experience–the cultural, global, corporate consumer, and natural.
At a time when it’s possible to do almost anything virtually, Wides reveals the poignancy of our human desire to be in our environment, to feel in the heart of the multitude…in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite, as Baudelaire said about the passionate city spectator, the flaneur. She chooses a perch above the drama. At this distance her lens blends her subjects with their surroundings to express the interconnectivity of culture and humanity, as well as space itself.
Through the dynamic tension she creates between icon and abstraction, Wides shows us that we live in a coded world. We see these abstractions through Wides’s lens manipulations (in Times Square [July 11, 2011], for example) where corporate and media icons are brought into sharp focus, while individuals are left vague and spectral. We see it through her use of color to communicate the tone of our social relationships, the spectrum of consumer experiences. It is also evident in Wides’s less crowded images, where she deconstructs the composition, emphasizing the spare to express the essential.
All the Worlds is part of Wides’s ongoing Mannahatta project about New York, where she re-imagines the ever-shifting cultural and social landscape of the city and surrounding areas. Here, Wides homes in on sensation, happening–people and place, energy, light, and space—as expressed across the theatrum mundi. These are our worlds at their vital core.
Wides’s solo exhibitions include The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers; The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz and Urbi et Orbi Galerie, Paris. Group exhibitions include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The High Museum, Atlanta; and The Municipal Art Society, New York. Work by the artist is held in many public collections, including The International Center of Photography, New York; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Art Museum of Princeton University; La Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College; The Norton Museum of Art, FL and the Museum of The City of New York. Recent publications include “Horizontal New York,”(Rizzoli) by Marla Hamburg Kennedy and “New York in Color”(Abrams) by Robert Shamis. Wides regularly contributes to magazines, such as “Harpers” and “New York”. Her work recently appeared on the cover of “Performance New York,” the 100th issue of PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art.