Land Rovers and Concealed Footprints: A Meditation on Desert Aesthetics

Following last month’s survey into the world of corporate aesthetics, artist Reese Riley of Archival Aesthetics: Environment and Object returns with another special commission of collages exploring desert imagery. Along with artists Rachel Archibald, Juan Villascusa, Alfred English, and  Art Belikov, this month Riley presents visions of desert mysticism and Saharan opulence, accompanied by a mix from Felon Keller.

As Riley explains: “Cinema’s reduction of these terrains has always been characterized by an absurd disproportion between man and environment. Sand’s mobility—its concealment of footprints—and man’s objects swell this fissure of scale. Infinite splinters of matter move fluidly and add to an ambiguous terror. A sublime threat. Scarcity of the definite. Stable forms manifest into a desert mysticism, through mirages and drug spirituality. The shifting environment creates a dynamic solitude where racing Land Rovers flip sandy mists into the sky, and nude bodies submerge into cascading piles. Both the obstacle, and its ostentatious byproducts, make up Desert Aesthetics.