For the better part of two decades, D.C. photographer Maxwell MacKenzie has been photographing decaying architecture on the Great Plains, sometimes from the ground and sometimes from the air. His exhibit this year—marking the fifth time he has made our annual top 10 list—had the feel of a final exam, an intimate retrospective on the long arc of his subject matter and his career. The artist’s own Cross MacKenzie Gallery, where the exhibit was held, is cozier than many of his past venues, which enforced a less expansive approach. Instead of displaying a succession of collapsing barns linearly, as if they were lining the prairie, Going Deep focused more on matrices that emphasized the passage of time—revealing how time scars, and occasionally revives, the old structures he finds in places like rural Minnesota. Despite the initial appeal of his early experiments with infrared-sensitive black-and-white film, the monochrome photographs in this year’s exhibit literally paled in comparison to his subsequent color images.
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