Noriko Furunishi, Untitled (Grey Dry Stream), 2005. Chromogenic color print, 91 1/2 × 48 inches (232.4 × 121.9 cm). Gift of Anthony Terrana. © Noriko Furunishi
Noriko Furunishi is known for her otherworldly depictions of deserts, mountains, ridges, and riverbeds through a combination of traditional and digital photographic techniques. Many of her photographs have vertical formats and layered compositions and recall traditional Japanese and Chinese landscape painting. Rather than provide a fixed point of view, Furunishi’s work invites the viewer’s eye to wander across the photograph, allowing the photographic image to freely recede and advance.
Furunishi took the source photographs for Untitled (Grey Dry Stream) near Death Valley, California, using a 4 x 5 viewfinder camera; she photographed several different locations, each from multiple angles and positions. She then scanned these negatives into a computer, using the digital files to compose and collage multiple views. With digital technology, the landscape becomes a flexible medium that Furinishi can manipulate at will—eliminating details, adding others, mixing perspectives, and even blending different locations or times of day. Nature’s vibrant colors and varied textures are the raw materials she uses to create her compositions. Untitled (Grey Dry Stream) presents a disorienting, dreamlike view of the world. It hints at terrain or topography we may have visited or seen in a photograph; at the same time, it moves beyond this familiarity and suggests another dimension beyond our sight or time. The photograph is part of her Landscapes series, in which space and earth are warped, twisted, and distorted, confounding viewers’ points of view.
Untitled (Grey Dry Stream) adds to the ICA/Boston’s strong collection of photography, joining works by Catherine Opie, Richard Prince, and Shannon Ebner that also reinterpret the landscape in powerful ways.