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Emmet Gowin: Changing the Earth
May 2, 2004 - July 18, 2004
(above: Emmet Gowin, American, born 1941, Off Road Traffic Pattern along the Northwest Shore of the Great Salt Lake, Utah, 1988, toned gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist and Yale University Art Gallery.)
EMMET GOWIN, APRIL 1994
Not long after Mount St. Helens erupted in the state of Washington in 1980, Emmet Gowin chartered a light plane, flew into the immediate wilderness area devastated by the active volcano and recorded his first aerial landscape photographs. Intent on both seeing and documenting the consequences of a vast natural disaster, Gowin continued to return to the region in the years thereafter, creating images that revealed how flora and fauna began to thrive anew in the dramatically reorganized landscape. He witnessed how the earth set to healing itself. Then, one day, when bad weather prevented him from flying over his central subject, something unexpected happened. As Gowin has said of that moment:
Since that momentous flight in 1986, Gowin has logged hundreds of hours aloft with his camera, creating thousands of photographs that chronicle a wide variety of landscapes that have been profoundly altered by humankind. The ninety-two images presented in this exhibition and its catalogue offer a carefully edited glimpse of the military test sites, missile silos, weapons storage and disposal sites, toxic water treatment facilities, mining operations, pivot irrigation agriculture, off-road motor traffic, and more that Gowin has visited and photographed in our own country. Also included are images the artist has more recently made abroad of other landscapes, such as the scarred battlefields of Kuwait, new golf courses under construction in Japan, and the chemopetrol industries of the Czech Republic. You will surely find Gowin's still-growing visual portrait of our changing earth both beautiful and alarming to contemplate. His steady artistic efforts have quietly yielded a stunning creative gift of concern for our species to receive, one worth careful scrutiny and discussion as we all consider better ways to dwell in peace and preserve the remarkable worldly environment and resources that nurture all life as we know it.
Jock Reynolds -- The Henry J. Heinz II Director, Yale University Art Gallery
Comprised of ninety-two hand-toned aerial photographs, by one of America's leading photographers, Emmet Gowin: Changing the Earth attests to changes made by human industry on the landscape. These images offer the viewer a bird's-eye view of the possibilities and threats existing below.
This exhibition and publication project has been produced
by the Yale University Art Gallery in association with the Corcoran Gallery
of Art and the Yale University Press. The endeavor has been very generously
supported by Jane Watkins M.P.H. 1979, Anna Marie and Robert Shapiro B.A.
1956, Julia and Harrison Augur B.A. 1964, Raymond and Helen DuBois B.A.
1978, Evelyn and Robert Doran B.A. 1955, Carolyn and Gerald Grinstein B.A.
1954, Eliot Nolen B.A. 1984 and Timothy Bradley B.A. 1983, Lindsay McCrum
B.A. 1980, Richard and Ronay Menschel, Betsy Frampton, Carol and Sol LeWitt,
an anonymous donor, the Mr. and Mrs. George Rowland, B.A. 1933, Fund, and
the Heinz Family Foundation. In El Paso, the exhibition is funded in part
by Texas Commission on the Arts.
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Copyright 2003, 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.