For more than thirty years, Chicago based photographer Terry Evans has focused her lens on the Midwest prairie, photographing both the people and the landscape. Overview presents 22 photographs from numerous bodies of work, all of which has garnered her critical acclaim.
Terry Evans was born in the heart of the American prairie, Kansas City, Missouri, spending most of her adult life in Salina before moving to Chicago. It is in Kansas, among the hay bales, grain silos and cultivated fields, that Evans’s passion for the great plains was born – a passion that has led her on a photographic journey spanning more than thirty years and countless hours 600 feet above the ground in a single-engine plane.
Before the advent of agriculture and the invasion of the plow, the prairie was inundated by herds of buffalo, elk and prairie dogs, living harmoniously within the grassland. Decades later, the buffalo disappeared and the tallgrass has been replaced by crop circles and manicured paths. The foundation for Evans’s work started in 1978, as she focused her camera on the unplowed native prairie ecosystem. Years later, she started documenting the inhabited prairie, and the human marks left on the land. When speaking about her photographs, Evans says her images “show marks that contain contradictions and mysteries which raise questions about how we live on the prairie.”
Overview features aerial work from Chicago, Greenland, North Dakota and Kansas, plant specimens from The Smithsonian and Field Museum collections, slag processing at an Indiana steel plant, and mountaintop removal in eastern Kentucky. Taken together, these various series reveal an artist who has dedicated her career to showing human effects on the land and the ever-changing ecosystem.
Terry Evans’s work is part of numerous private and public collections including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Whitney Museum of American Art [New York, NY], Los Angeles County Museum of Art and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. We are proud to exhibit Evans’s work a few weeks before, Heartland: The Photographs of Terry Evans, a major retrospective opening at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City in mid-October. A retrospective book will accompany the exhibition