‘DIG: Notes on Field and Family,’ an exhibition by photographer Sarah Wilson, opens at Do Right Hall 

A scene from the University of Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Lab features artwork created by photographer Sarah Wilson, who draws inspiration from the Big Bend region and her familial legacy. Photo by Sarah Wilson.

MARFA — DIG: Notes on Field and Family, a new exhibition titled after a recently-released book, both by photographer Sarah Wilson, will open Thursday, June 1, with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. and extend through the month at Do Right Hall, 110 West Dallas Street. 

Wilson will speak at the Agave Festival on Friday, June 2, at 4 p.m. at Crowley Theater. Books will be available for sale and signing at the talk and at Do Right Hall. 

A meditative journey through family connections, geographic memory and deep time, Wilson’s work was inspired by her grandfather, paleontologist Dr. John A. Wilson, who studied the Big Bend region. 

A photograph of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park is part of a body of work focusing on paleontology, Far West Texas, family ties, and more that will be on view at Do Right Hall throughout the month of June. Photo by Sarah Wilson.

Before he died, he gifted Sarah three black metal boxes filled with faded 35mm Kodachrome teaching slides from his decades as a professor of geology and paleontology at the University of Texas. The images featured geologic charts, rock formations, bone fragments and skulls from his annual digs in West Texas and Big Bend National Park. 

Holding them up to the light, Sarah realized that she and her grandfather had photographed some of the exact same desert landscapes, from the same vantage points, only 50 years apart. This shared connection ignited an adventure and a long-term project, featured in the pages of her first book, DIG: Notes on Field and Family, and on the walls this June at the Do Right Hall. 

Sarah’s conceptual self-portraits in the style of geology and anatomy charts combine the personal and the scientific. Her images of Texas badlands, wheat-pasted on wood, are both sculptural and photographic. Fossil casts on loan from The Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections at UT will be on display. A special saber-toothed cat skull from the UT collection has been molded and transformed into a kiln-cast glass and bronze limited edition sculpture, created by Sarah’s friend and long-time collaborator Angie West of Refractory, a collectible design studio, foundry, and glassworks atelier in Chicago. 

Gallery hours will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the Agave Festival, June 1-4, and Saturdays by appointment through June. To schedule an appointment to see the show, email [email protected]