Maxwell LaBelle is an artist living and working in Boston Massachusetts. He graduated from The Massachusetts College of Arts and Design in 2019 with a BFA in photography. His work explores history, time, and place through photography.
“How strange it is that there are people who have vanished from this earth so completely that the very memory of their name has been effaced! Their languages are lost, their glory has evaporated like a sound that dies without an echo. Yet I do not know if any people have ever vanished without leaving at least a tomb as a token of its passing.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Sound Without Echo visually explores the Quabbin Reservoir and its surrounding area and tributaries through the lens of history, intending to unearth forgotten places while depicting the ever-present impact of water on the landscape. I first learned of the story of the Quabbin reservoir through a large archive of photographs made during the creation of the reservoir. The pictures were strange and fastidious, depicting the unnatural process of erasing and submerging a place with bureaucratic precision. They showed buildings to be razed, cemeteries to be dug up and relocated, the barren valley, and the gradual rising levels of water in the landscape. Seeing the claiming and erasure of an established place made me think of history, and the multifold ways this same story has taken place. I thought of the implication of water as a destructive force in the past and present, the portent of rising oceans and catastrophic weather in our likely future, and the ubiquitous flooding imagery in religious myth. I wanted to work in a style reminiscent of the archival imageries directness while incorporating elements of darkness and mystery in the landscape. The pictures describe the complexity of a landscape that has undergone dramatic man-made alteration and question the permanence of the land we inhabit.
Interested artists can contact Galley Coordinator Terry Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org