Whilst working on a major book on American artists in their studios in 2012, Eisler visited Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú, New Mexico, the estate in which the renowned American Modernist Georgia O’Keefe lived, worked, and produced her iconic paintings. The experience of arriving at the house – surrounded by rugged cliffs and craggy pinnacles, and starkly delineated by the brilliant desert light – was a revelatory, haunting moment. Echoing O’Keefe’s own words: ‘Such a beautiful untouched lonely feeling place, such a new part of what I call “the Faraway”… It is a place I have painted before… even now I must do it again’, Eisler was captivated by the brutal vastness and primal history of the New Mexico desert, and vowed to return, this time with camera in tow.
In an attempt to capture something of the landscape’s primordial significance, Eisler spent days in the majestic, inhospitable environment – working from dawn to dusk and voyaging deeper and deeper into its canyons, plateaus and arroyos. Further inspired by the Modernist American poetry that she had been reading, which included the work of Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, E. E. Cummings, Ezra Pound and others, the journey took on an almost quixotic character. In a sense it was Eisler’s own poetic adventure, as she herself recalls: ‘The search for Eve, my muse, somewhere between the majestic heavens and Mother Earth, standing atop the rocky inclines, as sensual and as powerful as the monumental nature that had surrounded her.’
To this end, Eisler photographed female models within the desert surrounds. Across the series, Eisler’s photographs capture the immensity of geological time and wild space; following in the footsteps of some of the most renowned artists of the twentieth century, she has rendered this mythic landscape with sensitivity and vision.