Haines Gallery is pleased to present After the Gold Rush, a new solo exhibition by photographer Binh Danh (b. 1977, lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area). For the past six years, Danh has been traveling across the American West, making scenic daguerreotypes on silver plates in a mobile darkroom he calls Louis, after Louis Daguerre. After the Gold Rush, Danh’s sixth solo at Haines Gallery, features a series of new daguerreotypes created during his recent stay at the gallery’s residency program in Nevada City, California.
Architectural details of Nevada City’s carefully preserved Victorian buildings and historical sites, and the lush landscapes that surround it are all captured with remarkable clarity in the new work that comprises Danh’s exhibition. Juxtaposed against these timeless scenes are details that reveal their contemporary nature: sleek cars and trendy storefronts, figures in contemporary clothing, and signs of new industries. Reflected in each silvery image is a history of adventure and imagination, in shaping Nevada City and in photography.
Through this latest body of work, Danh examines the history of Nevada City against the history of photography and the medium’s pioneers. Images of Nevada City residents speak to the daguerreotype’s most prominent uses—the portrait, while stunning California vistas consciously evoke the work of Ansel Adams and Carleton Watkins. After the Gold Rush also pays quiet homage to the pioneering work of Julia Ann Rudolph, one of the few professional women photographers working in America in 19th century. Rudolph set up a thriving studio in Nevada City in 1856, and her early images of the town’s thoroughfares and residents create an historical antecedent to Danh’s contemporary daguerreotypes.
Established during the California Gold Rush in 1849, Nevada City was once the most important mining town in the state. In the 170 years since, it has slowly evolved with each shift in local industry and population demographics. Following the Nisenan Native Americans, who initially settled the land, Nevada City has been home to successive waves of miners, loggers, and Chinese pioneers who informed its early development; later, it was reimagined as a return to nature by the Back-to-the Landers, who were drawn to its location at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, Nevada City sees its character changing once again with the tourist industry, the Green Rush from the now-legal cannabis industry, and increasing presence of those working remotely for Bay Area tech companies. Danh is the rst artist from Haines Gallery to utilize the Nevada City residency in some time. A forthcoming project from photographer John Chiara, the result of a multi-part stay, will debut in 2020.
Binh Danh received his BFA in Photography from San Jose State University, and MFA from Stanford University. He has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at the Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans (2018); Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY (2016); and the Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA (2015). Danh’s works are in the collections of institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA.