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West and West: Joe Deal (exhibit)

© Joe Deal - "Flint Hills," 2005, 20 x 20 in. Inkjet print. Private collection.
© Joe Deal - "Flint Hills," 2005, 20 x 20 in. Inkjet print. Private collection.

Dates: June 5, 2010 - August 1, 2010

Location:   Center for Creative Photography

Cost: Free


Drawing on the remarkable history of 19th century survey photography of the Great Plains, Joe Deal’s new series of photographs, West and West, serves as a meditation on landscape and history, and their place in the realms of imagination and representation. The mechanical act performed by land surveyors is believed by the photographer to be powerfully similar to the artistic act of making a photograph. To Deal, both are about establishing a frame around a vast scene that suggests no definite boundaries of its own.  Thus, when approaching his own photographs of the Great Plains, Deal viewed his photography as a form of reenactment, a method of understanding how it felt to contain the Great Plains in smaller, more measurable units.

The exhibit continues Deal’s keen observation of the forms and markers of built and natural landscapes. While West and West eschews the imagery of development for which Deal is best known, this project still connotes the impact of human-initiated processes by asking the viewer to think historically and consider what in a landscape has changed and also what has not changed. Focusing on the Great Plains also marks a return to the region where Deal grew up. West and West offered the opportunity to reconnect with what he calls “the dreamed landscape” of his childhood, now framed by the complicating knowledge of the history that shaped the land. 

See the Center's summer hours to plan your visit.

For more information, please visit http://www.creativephotography.org/exhibitions