BEN HUFF: The Last Road North

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On view: November 6, 2015 – January 2, 2016
See below for related events.

The Last Road North represents photographer Ben Huff’s visual journey along America’s northernmost road, the Haul Road—a thoroughfare that stretches 414 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields at the foot of the Arctic Ocean. The highway was constructed in 1974 as a supply route for the Trans – Alaska Pipeline and is traversed primarily by truckers transporting supplies to and from the oil fields.

Huff documented scenes and impressions from the road for over five years—intrigued by the captivating Alaskan landscape, and the individuals and machines that navigate it. Fellow adventure seekers feature prominently via close-up portraits and traces they have left along the way in abandoned vehicles, trailers, barrels, and more. His portrayal punctuates the clear divide the highway generates between pure wilderness and the man-made intervention embodied by the pipeline snaking beside the road. The power structure that emerges from The Last Road North is clear – the oil industry is second to none.

This body of work is replete with persistent contradictions: natural beauty interspersed with rusted debris and decrepit truck stops; decaying locations inhabited by gleaming oil trucks; and most poignantly, an oil pipeline soaring through the quiet Alaskan terrain. With these seeming opposing elements, Huff tells us not only a story of this unique landscape, but also one of our country’s priorities—positing that which needs protection up against its principal offender.

Ben Huff is a photographer based in Juneau, Alaska. He has exhibited extensively in Alaska, the contiguous United States and China, and has published in international publications. Pictures from his series The Last Road North have been collected by the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska State museum. He is a recipient of grants from the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska Arts Council, and was an Artist-in-Residence at Lightwork in Syracuse, NY in July 2014.

This exhibition is accompanied by a monograph published in 2014 by Kehrer Verlag featuring an introduction by Barry Lopez and an essay by Karen Irvine.

Exhibition Press:

Speer, Richard. “Ben Huff, Newspace Center for Photography,” Visual Art Source. 21 December, 2015.

Foster, Kyla. “Picks: Ben Huff’s The Last Road North,” Willamette Week. 23 December, 2015.

Related events:

All events are free, open to the public, and take place at Newspace (1632 SE 10th Ave).
Additional event information is available on Newspace’s website.

Opening Reception & Poetry Event: Friday, November 6, 6:00– 9:00pm.

Discussion of Ben Huff’s The Last Road North & Freeman’s Journal Launch: Sunday, November 8, 4:00-5:30pm.

Screening: Visual Studies: 16mm Orphan Film from Oregon’s Classrooms: Saturday, November 14, 7:00-9:00pm.
Organized by Matt Cowan, Oregon Historical Society.

Holiday Party with artist Chris Willis’ Santa Clones installation of vintage holiday decorations: Friday, December 4, 6:00 – 9:00pm.

Also on view:

Santa pictures not picked up: Photographs from the Oregon Historical Society

Gallery information:

Newspace Center for Photography is located at 1632 10th Ave, Portland, OR.

Gallery hours: Monday – Thursday 10:00am-9:30pm; Friday – Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm.

Generous support provided by:

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