American, born 1952
Artist Debra Bloomfield has worked in the landscape for over 35 years. Her poetic, large-scale color photographs draw on the visual language of metaphor and explore the relationship between interiority and the external world. Her images have been described as infused with a magnificent unpredictability, and emanating a sense of hope. The contemplative nature of Bloomfield’s work invites the viewer into the relationship created within the photograph. Minimal, and ethereal, Debra Bloomfield produces beautifully composed works conflate individual and universal experience.
Of her work the artist explains, “My work is highly personal in origin, often motivated by a particular question I am exploring in my life. The process begins without premeditation, and often I understand it retrospectively. When I begin my explorations, I have a general sense of the direction I am going, but I navigate as if in a sailboat, letting the skies and weather direct my intuition. My images are the culmination of my visual, emotional, and intellectual responses to what is in front of me. They also reveal to me my own stories, my memories, and my experiences.”
Bloomfield’s recent series is collected in Wilderness (2014), an environmental monograph comprising images and soundscapes she recorded over a five-year period in a remote area of northwestern America, “a landscape that is metaphor for wilderness everywhere.” Immersing herself in this unknown terrain, Bloomfield purposely repeated her movements through the seasons with a contemplative stance. With author Terry Tempest Williams as contributor, the Wilderness series is equal parts art and environmental advocacy.
Her previous work includes her Oceanscapes series (2000-07), published in Still (2008), which explores the endless horizon of the sea and is about reflection, patience, and discovery; her first monograph, Four Corners (1989-2001, published 2004), which pairs photos of the unforgiving landscapes of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico with intimate views of the iconography of Catholic missions; and Frida/Trotsky (1987-90), a symbolic portrait of Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky made in their homes in Coyoacán, Mexico.
Bloomfield’s work is held in numerous public and private collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; ; the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; the Phoenix Art Museum; University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. In 1992 she was the recipient of the James D. Phelan Art Award in Photography.