New Photo Exhibit Shows What Humans Leave Behind on the Gulf Coast

In Victoria Sambunaris’s 2015 photograph Untitled (Intracoastal Waterway with red barge), the color of the water is the pale tan of over-creamed coffee. The camera angle emphasizes the flatness of the landscape; it is as if you could see the curve of the Earth in the distance. The water stretches across the whole foreground and recedes into the distance, forming a wide triangle under a slender band of pale silvery-gray sky. The 39×55-inch image is almost all water; the banks of mottled green saltwater marsh barely encroach into the edges of the photo. It looks impossibly remote except for the broad red barge that seems to sit atop the smooth surface of the water. The Gulf Coast’s peculiar marriage of primeval coastal landscape and petrochemical industry is captured in Sambunaris’s exhibition “Shifting Baselines: Texas Gulf Coast | Victoria Sambunaris in Collaboration With Kristopher Benson,” on view at the Galveston Artist Residency Gallery.

Lecture at Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery

Exhibition: August 27 – December 17, 2014

Artist’s Talk: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.

Victoria Sambunaris has traversed and documented the vast United States landscape for more than a decade, viewing the intersection of geology, industry and culture, as both a record and a metaphor for the American experience.

In Taxonomy of a Landscape, forty-one of the artist’s large-scale photographs reveal the mystery and unease of a country where human intervention and natural beauty inspire wonder in equal measure, while additional materials – video, books, maps, mineral specimens, journals, road logs and photographic sketches – provide an intimate view of the artist’s life and work on the road.


Victoria Sambunaris’s new photography book, Taxonomy of a Landscape, goes beyond the amber waves of grain to catalogue what’s on America’s horizon.

Taxonomy of a Landscape: Photographer Victoria Sambunaris’ Visual Journeys Across the US


The American landscape photographer Victoria Sambunaris has completed her first monograph, Taxonomy of a Landscape. Sambunaris studied at Yale and still teaches there, although her main passion is the regular road trips she takes into the American interior. The monograph brings together many of the images she took in South Texas – a rich natural landscape that is also shifting fast due to the demands of the energy industry – covering over a decade’s worth of shooting.