January 5 - February 13, 2010
Stephen Wirtz Gallery presents USS
Hornet, the first installment in Apollonia Morrill's ongoing series about the machinery of
USS Hornet is part of a larger body of work in progress that will eventually include additional military sites. This presentation consists of photographs of the USS Hornet, a decommissioned aircraft carrier docked in Alameda, California. One of the most decorated ships in the US Navy, the Hornet was active in World War II and Vietnam.
In our current time of conflict, Morrill was drawn to the Hornet to photograph military living and working environments, the mundane details that make up the machinery of war. Morrill is interested in the ship as a vast machine and in the traces of the people who served aboard it, both as individuals and parts of that machine.
These photographs are presented with texts on war that suggest a human counterpart to the shipís inanimate surfaces. These accompanying texts include excerpts from the shipís log and from The Red Badge of Courage, the 1895 war novel by Stephen Crane, grounding the pictures in the human context of war and underscoring the connections between all conflicts.
Morrill creates visual geographies, photographic studies of historical sites that have particular resonance in the present day. Morrill's work explores the built environment and the evidence of human stories visible in our surroundings, with each series providing an intimate portrait of a place. Recent subjects include the USS Hornet (see below); a Hansenís disease (leprosy) settlement in Hawaii; Eliís Mile High Club in Oakland; and San Franciscoís Transbay Terminal and Castro Theatre.