09-02-2023 / 03-17-2024
San Francisco, CA

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Young Suh, Orange Sky, 2023


Katie Peterson

It was made of water, but not helpfully,
a stag walked inside. It was a voice
on the radio, a voiceover,
telling us about the technical difficulties
making the funeral hard to hear
at the moment when the great man’s death
became a family matter.

A stag became concealed
at the moment a car turned the corner.
It required the driver
to do more than pay attention.
One must be slow in advance
of what’s coming.

The funeral came back with music.
A song about what could last.

It stayed the same, hanging
around the house
like a lovesick teenager,
or a grownup with nothing to do,
or curtains, or sirens, anything
with duration that acts permanent.

Fog and Smoke

By Katie Peterson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN  9780374610890

To Be Released on 01-02-2024

Peterson unfurls the quotidian fabric of our lives, patterned with the difficulties of language and this moment.

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Looking at our natural environments through the smoke from wildfires, I was struck by how much they reminded me of the paintings by the 19th Century Romantics, such as Albert Bierstadt or Sanford Robinson Gifford, two of my favorite landscape painters of the Hudson River School painters. The painstaking process of building the atmospheric layers for their paintings was a metaphor for creating a myth of the country. I think invoking this process with the photographic medium implies something slightly different. I hoped to gather this history that informs our relationship with natural beauty.


Many things have happened since then. I became a father of a half-Asian girl, and my father back in Korea passed away. I started turning my camera toward my life, family, and my childhood growing up in Korea. I am deeply interested in how images can be thought of as a form of writing. I am currently working on a book of photographs and text about my past, raising a daughter, being an immigrant, and being a lover from another country.

16 past residents were invited to choose two works for display and to craft a short statement on the relationship, or artistic journey, between them. The first of the chosen works represents an earlier style, subject, or approach; the second exemplifies current concerns. The goal was to create a compelling visual dialogue between the two works in order to illuminate something central to each artist’s lifetime quest. This presentation points to the essential duality of an artistic career: the idea of growth and change in the service of one’s foundational concerns.

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