London, Cork Street

Michael Benson
Atmospheres

3 November - 3 December 2016
/

Overview

This body of work, constructed from fragments captured by machines hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, explores the visual legacy of over five decades of robotic space exploration, marking a significant new chapter in the history of visual representation.

We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvellous; but we do not notice it. —Charles Baudelaire 

Flowers Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new and recent photographs by Michael Benson. This is his first solo exhibition with the Gallery. 

For more than a decade, Benson has used raw image data from robotic interplanetary missions to create large-format landscape photographs of the planets, their moons and the Sun. This body of work, constructed from fragments captured by machines hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, explores the visual legacy of over five decades of robotic space exploration, marking a significant new chapter in the history of visual representation. Benson’s appropriation and re-positioning of materials originally acquired for scientific research, seeks to radically reframe the limits of visual and conceptual horizons; looking, as he describes, “through the eyes of our post-human avatars.” 

The images in Atmospheres reveal uncanny similarities between atmospheric effects on Earth and our most similar planetary neighbour, Mars. The term ‘atmosphere’, (from the Ancient Greek, meaning vapour in the shape of a sphere), is used to describe the envelope of gases surrounding a planet, and also invites a subjective view of the extraterrestrial landscape, informed by our sensory responses to atmospheric phenomena on Earth. 

Benson’s images highlight the contrasts between worlds with and without atmospheres (the Earth and its airless satellite, the Moon); and the visible traces of atmosphere and climate conditions on Earth and Mars, from the aeolian sand dunes on the surface of Mars, swept into their characteristic waveforms by Martian winds; to the clouds of desert sand on Earth, carried across the Western Sahara. In the near-full view of Earth, with Hurricane and Sahara Dust, ice can be seen retreating from Canada’s Hudson Bay; while Frosted Mars Dunes in Winter, created from imagery captured by a Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows a frigid patina of seasonal carbon dioxide covering its southern hemisphere. In Rover Tracks in Gale Crater, the hazy sky and graduating horizon are caused by the scattering effects of light and suspended particles of dust, demonstrating the ways in which atmosphere determines how depth of field is perceived. Similarly, Sunset on Mars, which depicts an inverse colour graduation to sunsets typically seen on Earth, from a central blue glow radiating outwards into copper hues, suggests how the interaction of light and atmosphere shapes our impressions of beauty within the landscape, both on our own planet and in other worlds.

This body of work, constructed from fragments captured by machines hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, explores the visual legacy of over five decades of robotic space exploration, marking a significant new chapter in the history of visual representation.

Newsletter signup

Get our newsletter including exhibitions, news and events
We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.
    London

    21 Cork Street
    London W1S 3LZ

    Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm

    Please enquire about private viewings or visits outside of our regular hours. 
     

    To ensure the continued safety of our staff and guests when inside our gallery spaces, thank you for wearing a face covering for the duration of your visit and respecting social distancing. 

    We have a maximum limit to the number of people allowed within our gallery at any one time and therefore we may need to ask you to wait outside or to return at another time. 

     

    London

    82 Kingsland Road
    London E2 8DP

    Wednesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm

    Please enquire about private viewings or visits outside of our regular hours. 

     

    To ensure the continued safety of our staff and guests when inside our gallery spaces, thank you for wearing a face covering for the duration of your visit and respecting social distancing. 

    We have a maximum limit to the number of people allowed within our gallery at any one time and therefore we may need to ask you to wait outside or to return at another time. 

     

     
    New York

    Private viewings by appointment

     

    Hong Kong

    49 Tung Street
    Sheung Wan

    Tuesday - Saturday 12 - 6pm

    Close

    Your saved list

    Create a list of works then send us an enquiry.
    No items found