A Void and Cloudless Sky
 Antone Dolezal

A Void and Cloudless Sky unearths a world of practitioners embracing religious beliefs formed by a complex tension between the scientific and the divine. Taking place in the vast deserts of California and Nevada – a region mythologized as a gateway to the cosmos – this work offers a constellation of photographs woven from the surreal and the rational and blends folklore of the American West alongside elements of science fiction cinema and New Age mythology. It is a region rich in history and known as a haven for secret government programs, passing transients and utopian communities, all of which compose a backdrop for a strange realm that embodies the aspirations, fragments and uncertainties of a changing society.  

This work brings together photographs that uncover a disruption within the natural landscape and places portraits of spiritual practitioners alongside interpretive images drawing upon the influence of the beliefs they adhere to. These photographs are combined with documents and photographs constructed from my own interventions in government archives, as well as original manuscripts and texts tracing the origins of notable new religious movements. By favoring a layered narrative, this project spotlights a distinctly Western phenomenon and provides an allegorical response to questions that arise during uncertain times, illuminating the boundaries of belief and offering a meditation into the ideologies meant to eclipse the cycle of conventional life.