Ray Ewing is a photographic explorer, known for insightful Martha’s Vineyard images and road-trip photos of pyramids, castles and other anachronistic tributes to past worlds that dot the American landscape.

But with his wanderings circumscribed by Covid, the Island-born artist and Gazette photographer has been exploring closer to home, creating a body of work that’s showcased in New Land, his current exhibition at the Workshop Gallery in Vineyard Haven.

“All of the work in the show deals with interacting or playing in the land in one way or another,” Mr. Ewing said, during the opening reception last Friday.

While he shot some of the new work on the shores of Edgartown Great Pond and the ‘Coca-Cola Stream’ at Lambert’s Cove, Mr. Ewing also created scenes of his own devising. The dark peak in Ash Mountain, the largest piece in the show, appears at first like an aerial shot of a forbidding landscape. If there’s something about it you can’t quite put your finger on, here it is: “It’s ash from the fireplace,” said Mr. Ewing, who constructed the mountain in his bathroom and shot it under a dark red light bulb, running hot water to make steam for a misty background.

A stormy relationship.

Piezo printing, in which the pigments are made of pure carbon, enabled Mr. Ewing to achieve the maximum contrast in his close-up, black and white image.

“I was after getting the absolute, most extreme detail that I possibly could,” he said. “This one’s all about the texture, and detailed to the point of confusion — a confusion between noise, between sand, between light, where it almost falls apart into static and yet it’s still discernible as space and a landscape.”

Pouring water onto a mud-plastered surface yielded another miniature scene, Sandplain Floodland, this one created in the artist’s garage over a day of experimenting with turbulence and flow.

“It was a big mess afterwards,” he said.

Mr. Ewing’s desire to forge new relationships with land arises from the sense of loss he feels as a lifelong

Vineyarder, who sees erosion, sea level rise and development eating away at the Island where he grew up.

“My place is washing into the sea, so I have to make some new places,” he said. “Everyone makes very important connections with certain buildings, ruins, landmarks, and you have your formative memories [there].”

“What happens when your access to that place goes away?” Mr. Ewing continued, recalling that as a child, he caught his first blue-claw crab at a part of South Beach that has long since disappeared beneath the water.

“That actually happened a hundred yards out in the ocean; I will never, ever be able to go to that exact location and do that again,” he said. “There’s this grief involved with the loss of the connection between meaning and place. Part of what the show is about is trying to repair that relationship.”

Mr. Ewing reconnects with his childhood self in his Great Pond Drip Castle series. On a beach the artist has known all his life, he made and photographed a wet-sand drip castle, then captured his legs and swim trunks as he first stomped on the structure and then kicked it into the waves.

“You didn’t think twice when you were five years old at the beach — you made a mark on the landscape,” he said.

New Land runs through August 18, by appointment or by chance, at the Workshop Gallery, 32 Beach Road in Vineyard Haven.