2019 Festival | Photo + Synthesis

October 12 to December 21, 2019  Hudson, New York

For our fourth Festival, LightField Arts will treat landscape art as an event brimming with imaginative responses to the tensions of its time.

Our main focus is the Hudson River Valley and climate change, which we use as a through line between: contemporary landscape photography, mid-19th century landscape painting, data visualization art, and tree science.

Participating artists will contribute newly commissioned and existing work. So far, our roster includes: Sarah Bird, Tim Davis, Christopher Griffith, and Tanya Marcuse. Contact us to propose a project that falls within our focus.

The Oxbow, 1836, Thomas Cole; Collection Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Oxbow, 1836, Thomas Cole; Collection Metropolitan Museum of Art

Artists of the Hudson River School were alarmed about the severe deforestation and industrialization underway in the Hudson River Valley. Their paintings helped spark America’s conservationist impulses, and helped knit the fragile cultural union that kept America whole through the Civil War.

Jump to today, an equally polarized time, politically and culturally. Tree scientists use the Hudson River Valley for climate change research because it is a living biome that is home to one of the most diverse tree populations on the planet, and because it still holds 400-year-old trees.

Commissioned Artists

LightField Arts will commission new work from photographers Sarah Bird and Christopher Griffith about the Hudson River Valley that will be informed by a partnership with research from Hudson Valley tree ring labs.

© Sarah Bird, Heritage Redwood

© Sarah Bird, Heritage Redwood


Contemporary photographer Sarah Bird, an American artist, will re-imagine landscapes in the Hudson River Valley as inspired by the Hudson River School of Art.

©  Christopher Griffith, Fall

© Christopher Griffith, Fall


Contemporary photographer Christopher Griffith will highlight landscape details of the Hudson River Valley in order to strip away “story” and allow structural features to take center stage.

Featured Artists

Other participating artists will exhibit photography about landscape, botany, and taxonomy—subjects whose roots go back to the very beginnings of photography.

©  Tim Davis, Upstate Event Horizon

© Tim Davis, Upstate Event Horizon


When I lived in Manhattan, I rarely photographed there. I found myself driving through tunnels and over bridges to find things that were less seen. The pictures in UPSTATE EVENT HORIZON are about that feeling of being free from the gravity of the dominant culture, the commercial pressure, the savvy eye. They search for and find a world that is odd, eccentric, rich and evocative, if a bit past its prime, and not always facing forward.

As Nabokov and Cheever, Sternfeld and Crewdson set their occult dramas in the suburbs, I am looking farther afield, to the agricultural regions, small towns and struggling cities beyond the commuter’s range. I am looking for the secret pleasures of the provinces, the underseen but deeply significant evocations of both my childhood and current home.

Tim Davis is an artist, writer, and musician who lives in Tivoli, NY and teaches photography at Bard College. His latest project, I’m Looking Through You, will be published by Aperture in 2020. The Tang Museum at Skidmore College recently showed a large survey of recent work in photography, video, sound, sculpture and performance entitled “When We Are Dancing, I Get Ideas.” A catalog of that show will appear in 2020 as well.

©  Tanya Marcuse, Woven No 16

© Tanya Marcuse, Woven No 16


Woven references millefleurs backgrounds of medieval hunting and falconry tapestry. Marcuse composes flora and fauna over the course of several weeks, then makes 5’ x 10’ photographs of the array. Allegorical and aesthetic elements such as mice or pokeweed convey evil or simply enrich the color palette. The result is a sense of opulence that verges on excess, a plenty that verges on plunder. 

Tanya Marcuse received her M.F.A. in photography from the Yale University School of Art. Her photographs are in numerous museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art. The most recent of her three books is Wax Bodies (Nazraeli Press, 2011). Among her many awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003), a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, the George Sakier Memorial Prize for Excellence in Photography (Yale), and two fellowships from the Center for Photography at Woodstock.

Commissioned for 2020 LightField Festival

© Bryan Schumaat, From Grays The Mountain Sends

© Bryan Schumaat, From Grays The Mountain Sends


Contemporary photographer Bryan Schutmaat, an American artist from Texas, will re-imagine landscapes in the Hudson River Valley as inspired by the Hudson River School of Art.

©  Victoria Sambunaris, Untitled (Night Train), Galveston, Texas

© Victoria Sambunaris, Untitled (Night Train), Galveston, Texas


Contemporary photographer Victoria Sambunaris, an American landscape artist, will re-imagine landscapes in the Hudson River Valley as inspired by the Hudson River School of Art.