The Photography of Erik Lauritzen
Western Folklife Center Wiegand Gallery
501 Railroad Street, Elko
August 15 - October 11, 2011
The exhibition Stop the Car, Dad! takes its name from the moment of curiosity that often accompanies the discovery of a roadside attraction. Whether bizarre, beautiful, or disturbing, these unexpected sites are strangely alluring.Featuring a series of 24 photographs by artist Erik Lauritzen (1953-2007), the exhibition reveals his captivation by the evidence of human presence and it's effect on the western landscape. Lauritzen’s images in particular record places where development has given way to dilapidation. Now abandoned, these way stations are evidence of the “boom and bust” lifestyle accompanying the mining industry of Nevada. Solitary signs and deserted buildings emerge as intriguing records of history.
Lauritzen’s own history was artistic from the beginning. Raised by a painter and a ceramicist, he lived among artists his entire childhood. Lauritzen went on to receive his B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute, and later earned his M.F.A. from California State University, Northridge. A respected member of the regional arts community, Lauritzen founded the photography department at Truckee Meadows Community College and was the founding Director and Curator of the Red Mountain Gallery.
During a residency in rural Lincoln County, he worked from early morning to late into the night. Larry Williamson, ceramist and a resident of Pioche at that time commented, “Erik’s special brand of teaching encourages students to do their very best, to appreciate the value of quality in fine artwork and to practice their art with patience, diligence, and imagination.”
On Thursday, September 8, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm, the Western Folklife Center invites the public to a reception for the exhibition, with a slide slam featuring additional roadside documentation by Elko area photographers, including Cynthia Delaney, Steve Green, Deon Reynolds, Charlie Ekburg, Susan Summer Ellliott and others, in the fireplace nook of the Pioneer Saloon.Organized by the Nevada Arts Council, Stop the Car, Dad! is one of the traveling exhibits in the Nevada Touring Initiative – Traveling Exhibition Program, and is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nevada State Legislature.Funding tor the exhibition was also received from Union Pacific Foundation and Ford Foundation.