Lewis Baltz: The Tract Houses

Lewis Baltz: the Tract Houses  is an exhibition of twenty-five photographs by the Southern California photographer Lewis Baltz. Drawn from a series created early in the artist's cereer, and aptly named The Tract Houses (1969-1971), the exhibition examines the indifferent nature of a complex of tract homes under construction.

Baltz is known for images which feature the anonymous façade of the contemporary urban landscape as subject matter. The photographs on display combine formal elegance with a sense of underlying apathy, and focus upon the sepulchral quality of prefab housing. The rigorous formal qualities of Baltz's compositions, and his disciplined use of contrasting light and dark areas collide with the bleak subject matter he deliberately chooses. In highlighting the lack of humanity or grace in the designs of the houses, Baltz seems to lead the viewer to a metaphoric interpretation of these works. Because of the repetition inherent in the series format, no single image dominates; rather, each image reinforces the power of the others.