Beyond Here Lies Nothin': Fifty Years of the American Landscape
Beyond Here Lies Nothin’… examines our uniquely American landscape – the clash between the claims we make on the land, our varied stewardship of it and the resulting aesthetics of the wood, steel, glass and concrete with which we continually reshape our horizons.
Taken over the last half century, the photographs in this exhibition depict the visual side-effects of our activities and behavior: economic transformations; technological revolutions; political fluctuations; environmental alterations; social evolutions. All of this leaves us sometimes grappling to maintain a sense of ourselves visually. How we see ourselves – what do we see when we look out the window? (We love the idea of Eden but we can’t resist dotting its hillsides with signboards). The physical appearances of our land (and city) scapes are mutable, fleeting. It falls to the artist to locate, identify and report on those appearances that possess intrinsic value, things worth considering remembering. Things that tell us something about us.
Eugene Richards ruminates on forlorn, Midwest homesteads – abandoned to the elements and littered with traces of family lives now lived elsewhere. Dennis Witmer traces the literal edge of the American landscape with a stark portrait of a street in a small Alaskan town that disappears at the edge of the Bering Strait. Alec Soth explores the country along our greatest river- the Mighty Mississippi, while David T. Hanson examines the scars, carved indelibly into the Montana wilderness, by the coal companies. Christopher Churchill embraces “God’s Country” in a coast-to-coast survey. Barbara Crane records the geometrics of the literally imposing and overlapping edifices that define the modern city. Kenneth Josephson finds mirth in the repetitive tract homes cascading up the hillsides in Pittsburgh. John Gossage offers a series of exquisite and sometimes unsettling details of the unattended wooded areas half-forgotten between towns and suburbs. And Art Sinsabaugh confirms our national identity in a single frame with his photograph of a highway interchange – the flowing labyrinth that symbolizes the American lust for movement and “freedom”.
The artists of Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ have all captured something worth considering, something worth remembering – photographs of the American land – unpeopled places filled with reflections of the human emotions that continue to shape the horizon.
Please join us for the opening reception, with some of the artists in attendance.
Stephen Daiter Gallery
Friday March 8th