Over the last 10 years, photographer Renate Aller has reverently recorded the ocean-view from the roof of her Long Island home, through all four seasons, at all times of daylight. That the subject, one spot on the Atlantic Ocean, remains the same is surprising given the wild range in color, weather, and light the artist is able to capture. In her “Oceanscapes—One View—Ten Years” series, the only aspect Aller changes is the horizon line, tilting her camera up or down to emphasize sky or sea.
Aller’s more recent body of work is called “Dicotyledon,” taken from the name of a flowering plant that blooms in pairs. Several of the images are presented in pairs, offering altering views of nature, both familiar and abstract. Of the series the artist has said, “The way we look at nature from a distance is similar to the way painters of the romantic period presented their work to the viewer. While our human desire is to tame nature, and our relationship to it is one of intervention and domination, our ambivalence with nature is reflected in the way we look at it. We use the landscape image as a mirror of ourselves—filled with illusions, desire, and nostalgia—and as a fulfillment of our idealized self. We expect nature to present itself as a stage set for our entertainment.”
Renate Aller was born in Germany and lives and works in New York. Aller has been the subject of two monographic publications, Renate Aller: Oceanscapes was published by Radius Books in 2010 followed by the publication of Renate Aller: Dicotyledon in 2012. Aller’s work is included in many public collections including The Yale University Art Gallery, Hartford, CT; the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe, NM.