During EXPO Chicago The Gallery Club presents the special exhibition The American Landscape, providing a new perspective on the United States through the eyes of the Dutch photographers Iwan Baan, Charlotte Dumas, Marie-José Jongerius, Sem Langendijk and Bert Teunissen. All of them have extensively photographed the American landscape over the course of years. Their work not only represents the diversity and grandeur of the American landscape, but also addresses important (social) issues, such as climate change, (forced) migration and urban planning.
Photographer Iwan Baan is primarily known for images that narrate the life and interactions that occur within architecture. His clients are ‘starchitects’ Rem Koolhaas / OMA, Herzog & De Meuron, Zaha Hadid Architects, Bjarke Ingels / BIG, Sou Fujimoto, Diller Scofidio & Renfro and SO-IL, among others. His aerial photos of Los Angeles, commissioned for the headquarters of Beats by Dr. Dre, give an interesting understanding of how the city is built and structured.
A vital thread in Charlotte Dumas’ work is the notion that the state of humanity can be read and studied by the way we relate to animals. Her series 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.
In her landscape photography Marie-José Jongerius looks for boundaries, limits and edges between nature and the manmade world. For her latest series Los Angeles Palms she travelled to Los Angeles to capture the iconic Mexican fan palm. Most of these palms were planted in LA for the 1932 Olympic games. Due to lack of water and care, the palm tree will slowly disappear from the streetscape within a decade or two.
Sem Langendijk has an interest in communities and their habitats, the urban environment and spatial arrangement. His series Docklands – New York addresses the transition of the former harbor area in Red Hook (Brooklyn, NY). Focusing on the high demand for living near the water, he tries to get a grip on shifting social demographics, questioning the function of public space and migration. Due to social inequality and popularity of ‘the city’, populations are continuously driven to relocate elsewhere, even within the capitals of our Western world.
Since the mid 1990’s Bert Teunissen photographs the landscape. Always in the same manner: shot from behind the steering wheel while driving, using an Olympus Pen, the legendary half frame camera. All his photographs are printed on expired photographic paper, creating different flares in colors and contrasts, making every print unique and impossible to create again. His series On The Road, Everglades focuses on a visual record he made of his journeys in South Florida.