New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Bonnell Robinson and Dana Mueller
No Man’s Land

This is a photo show about the costs of war—seen and unseen—but there isn’t a casualty in sight. Two photographers, working independently, offer their separate perspectives.

Photographer Bonnell Robinson visited some of the battlefields of World War I on the Western and Italian fronts where hundreds of thousands of soldiers lost their lives from 1914-1918, but all that remains are mostly bucolic landscapes; in one a couple of old artillery shells standing on end in the corner of a French farm is one of the few remaining hints of the horrors that had occurred here. Another image shows tall mounds of grass-covered earth; they were actually mass graves for some of those aforementioned soldiers. Seeing shell-marked stone buildings, one field hospital just a remnant of its stone walls remaining, is not a surprise. But these are not images you want to hang in the living room.

Fast forward to World War II and photographer Dana Mueller takes us on an entirely different tour- to former POW camps in the southern United States where 500,000 Nazis were held from 1943 to 1945. That German soldiers were even in the United States may come as a surprise and thinking that they may have enjoyed a relatively relaxed existence is a bit disconcerting. Even more so when you see their living quarters were on hallowed ground such as a famous Civil War battlefield in Virginia. Here, too, the landscapes are mostly pastoral scenes, dense forests, a deserted shack, no hint of their past history as prison camps for POWs. These are all images with a story but if an anti-war message is the basis for the work of these two photographers, it's lost in the translation or the passage of time.

Bonnell Robinson and Dana Mueller
No Man’s Land

Rick Wester Fine Art
511 W 25th St. 2nd Fl
Chelsea         Map

212 255 5560

Saturday, January 23 to
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Hours: Tues-Fri 10 to 6; Sat 11 to 6