LINCOLN, NE.- The Sheldon Museum of Art
presents today Evolving Eden: Three Photographic Perspectives during Lincoln PhotoFest, a community celebration of photography. Artists Arno Minkkinen, Hans Eijkelboom and Edward Burtynsky express diverse viewpoints and a collective consciousness of the human experience.
Minkkinen will open the exhibition with a Keynote Address at 5:30 p.m. followed by a reception on First Friday, February 6. The following morning, Saturday, February 7, three guest speakers will discuss the exhibition at a Photographic Symposium from 9 a.m. to noon in Ethel S. Abbott Auditorium in Sheldon.
Minkkinens black and white portraits of himself contorted in pristine environments represent an attempt at a harmonious, although lonely relationship with nature. In extreme contrast are Eijkelbooms multiple indiscriminate snapshots. They are void of nature and homogeneous in appearance. An anthropological series of comparative grids of people in three international cities reveals the insidious consequence of globalization. The drive to compete and consume has an impact on our natural resources as seen in Burtynskys photographs. Unlike the first two artists, his large-scale, color images of altered landscapes are absent of human beings, yet our role in the destruction is undeniable. With an objective view, Burtynsky documents the results of the pursuit of progress. The three unique approaches in Evolving Eden compel us to consider our selves, our relationship with other human beings and our effect on the land.
Arno Rafael Minkkinen - Since the early 1970s, Finnish-American photographer Minkkinen has been photographing his unclothed body in a wide variety of landscape and interior settings. These surreal and timeless black and white photographs are remarkable for the way in which Minkkinen maneuvers his body so that it echoes or becomes part of the natural environment. From Finland to New England, from the American West to Italy and France, Minkkinen seeks sites where he can show the presence of the human spirit in nature.
The photographs are all the more astonishing in that the artist does not use digital means nor does he manipulate the images in the darkroom.
Edward Burtons - Edward Burtynskys photographs document the many facets of nature as it is transformed through human industry. Exquisitely detailed and exactingly rendered, his images strike an intricate balance between a somber reportage and a powerfully seductive aesthetic.
His series, including shipbreaking, rock quarries and industrial refineries, reflects the dilemma created by society's desire for prosperity and the toll it exacts on the environment.
Speaking of his Quarries series, Burtynsky has said, The concept of the landscape as architecture has become, for me, an act of imagination. I remember looking at buildings made of stone, and thinking, there has to be an interesting landscape somewhere out there, because these stones had to have been taken out of the quarry one block at a time. I had never seen a dimensional quarry, but I envisioned an inverted cubed architecture on the side of a hill. I went in search of it, and when I had it on my ground glass I knew that I had arrived.
Hans Eijkelboom - Dutch-born Eijkelboom is a conceptual artist whose work frequently uses photography to question the interaction between the individual and society as mediated through images. In his new project, ParisNew YorkShanghai, Eijkelboom creates a clever and witty comparative study of three major contemporary metropolises, each selected for having been (or promising to be) the cultural capital of its timeParis during the nineteenth century; New York, the twentieth; and Shanghai, the twenty-first. Eijkelboom shows how culture has become universal and instant communication has united East and West, diminishing individuality and collapsing geographic boundaries. As Eijkelboom writes, Globalization, combined with the desire of cities for visually spectacular elements, is leading to the appearance everywhere of city centers that look the same and where identical products are sold.
Major support for Evolving Eden: Three Photographic Perspectives comes from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Herb and Kathy Friedman and the Wake Charitable Fund. Additional support is provided by Nebraska Arts Council and Sheldon Art Association.