Concurrently on view in the gallery’s project room is Inhabited Prairie, a selection of vintage black and white aerial photographs by Terry Evans. Taken between 1990 and 1994, the works explore the complexities and contradictions in America’s heartland, and specifically the artistʼs local landscape in her native Kansas. Richly toned and precisely detailed, Evansʼ aerial views possess a rigorous formalism. They are starkly beautiful visual records that take an objective and sensitive stance toward the relationship between land and people.
Layers of use, layers of loss and recovery and loss again, vestiges. These photographs are neither a critique of land use nor a statement about the irony of its beauty. The photographs are not about abstract visual design; they are about specific places. They show marks that contain contradictions and mysteries that raise questions about how we live on the prairie. All of these places are beautiful to me, perhaps because all land, like the human body, is beautiful.
(Terry Evans, The Inhabited Prairie, 1998)
Combining both aerial and ground photography, Terry Evans (b. 1944) has photographed the prairies and plains of North America and the urban prairie of Chicago since the mid-1970s. She has exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of an Anonymous Was a Woman award. Several books have been published on her work including Prairie: Images of Ground and Sky, The Inhabited Prairie, Disarming the Prairie and Heartland. Her work is in major museum collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, among many others.