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Insight into Katherine Wolkoff’s art exhibition “The Critical Zone”

Salt River, Flumen salis, 2018

25 Mar 2019
News Source: The Benrubi Gallery

Brooklyn-based artist and photographer Katherine Wolkoff presents an art exhibition, "The Critical Zone."

Image: Salt River, Flumen salis, 2018 [Click image to enlarge]

Salt River, Flumen salis, 2018

Katherine Wolkoff’s “The Critical Zone,” an exhibition of large-scale gelatin silver prints, was hosted January 10 - March 9, 2019, by the Benrubi Gallery in New York. Wolkoff traveled to public lands throughout the United States to photograph landscapes that describe the geological, botanical and zoological markings visible in the Critical Zone (CZ). She uses a range of techniques from a 4x5 view camera to a flatbed scanner, utilizing subjective post-production techniques in her first body of black and white photographs. Learn more about the exhibition in the official press release found here

Badlands, Malum terra, 2018

Katherine Wolkoff, an artist and photographer whose work focuses on the natural world, was kind enough to give the CZO community a little more insight into her collection, The Critical Zone.

Born in the 1970s in Indiana, Wolkoff grew up with an appreciation and understanding of the importance of protecting the environment from an early age since her parents were both environmentalists. Her previous bodies of work have been more specific investigations of taxonomies, for example, she photographed a 19th-century collection of stuffed birds on Block Island, Rhode Island, as well as, a series of deer beds. She notes this CZ collection was a departure for her, in that it looks at the landscape in a more general way and specifically addresses the changes happening to our landscape.

Bark Beetle #1, Scolytus multistriatus, 2016

The CZ was used as a loose organizational structure for the collection after Wolkoff discovered the term in an article about the French Philosopher Bruno Latour, who has recently used the CZ concept to study current scientific perspective. In the black and white photographs, scale plays a really important part as it is not always clear where you stand as a viewer- they are meant to be mysterious, confusing and vertiginous. The shifting scale is also part of the content of the work, relating to how our actions both micro and macro affect the world around us. Hope for the collection is to remind people about the importance of the landscape with both its beauty and darkness.  

Her favorite image of the collection is entitled "Bark Beetle I, Scolytus multistriatus.” The image, shown to the right, shows the marks and pathways made by bark beetles that she saw as gestural lines, a type of drawing where the artist swiftly and almost carelessly makes lines.

Katherine currently works as fine art and commercial photographer based out of Brooklyn, NY. Her website is

Salt River, Flumen salis, 2018

Badlands, Malum terra, 2018

Bark Beetle #1, Scolytus multistriatus, 2016

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Press release
(2 MB pdf)
The Benrubi Gallery announces Katherine Wolkoff's exhibition, "The Critical Zone"

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