The Gallery Club proudly presents its new exhibition The American Landscape, with work by Iwan Baan, Charlotte Dumas and Marie-José Jongerius. Three Dutch photographers who have, for many years, captured the fascinating and diversified American landscape.
Dutch photographer Iwan Baan is known primarily for images that narrate the life and interactions that occur within architecture. Born in 1975, Iwan studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. After his studies Baan followed his interest in documentary photography, before narrowing his focus to record the various ways in which individuals, communities and societies create, and interact within their built environment.
With his combined passion for documentary and space, Baan’s photographs reveal our innate ability to re-appropriate our available objects and materials, in order to find a place we can call our own. Examples of this can be seen in his work on informal communities where vernacular architecture and placemaking serve as examples of human ingenuity, such as his images of the Torre David in Caracas – a series that won Baan the Golden Lion for Best Installation at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.
With no formal training in architecture, his perspective mirrors the questions and perspectives of the everyday individuals who give meaning and context to the architecture and spaces that surround us, and this artistic approach has given matters of architecture an approachable and accessible voice.
Charlotte Dumas – The Widest Prairies
It is becoming increasingly rare that animals live free from us. Unbound by our interference they are yet almost always affected by our presence. Through the constant changes of our societies and behaviors, wild animals and people are bound to meet each other on once separate and now ever more shared territories. Their habitat seemingly overlapping ours, as it is, we set foot in theirs, long ago.
The Widest Prairies focuses on the wild horses of Dayton, Nevada, famed as one of the first settlements of the gold rush in the West. These horses once symbolized the freedom, possibilities and dreams associated with the American West but now, much like this faded ideal, their very existence is under threat from changing political and economic conditions. This series of photographic encounters depicts the horses as part of a shifting landscape, exposing their resilient character. Pictured as Nomadic drifters, they visit towns and trailer parks in search of food and water.
Marie-José Jongerius – Los Angeles Palms
‘Ask anyone—native Angelino, recent transplant, or casual visitor—for their image of Los Angeles and you will hear the usual list: surf, sand, and palm tree-lined boulevards marked by the rise and fall of celebrities, shaped and clogged by the automobile, wreaked by repeated racial strife, menaced by impending natural disaster.
Through more than a century of exposure through literature, cinema, and media these images insinuated themselves in the imagination. Of all of these clichés, however, the palm tree is the most easily distilled into a single frame, deployable whenever necessary to establish that the action takes place in Los Angeles. And if the city lacks an architectural skyline—not a single downtown skyscraper has managed to burn itself into the collective unconscious—its rows of palm trees substitute.
Considering that the average lifespan of a palm tree is seventy to a hundred years and that most of the palms visible now were planted to beautify the city for the 1932 Olympics, the bulk of Los Angeles’s palm trees will disappear within a decade or two. Regardless of its link to the city’s popular image, the palm has never been the city’s official tree.’ (text by Jared Farmer)