New Mexico Art Tells its History

Yates Petroleum Company - Peck

Yates Petroleum Company, Exploratory Well, West of Lovington, NM, 1983
Mary E. Peck, b. 1952
Gelatin silver photograph, 7 x 16-3/4 in.

Mary Ellen Peck has worked extensively in the open plains of eastern New Mexico and west Texas, seemingly empty, desolate stretches of land that have attracted few visual chroniclers. Ever since travelers began recording comments on this region, she notes, "most reactions have been unfavorable. This land has none of the things to offer that most people associate with a beautiful or grand landscape. There is no place for the eye to rest, no seeming point of interest." People rarely appear in her pictures. Instead, one sees mere traces of their presence. Mary Peck seems drawn to scenes that suggest people's efforts to accommodate themselves to the immutable fact of this physical environment.

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