June 5, 2013
Smoky Hill Weapons Range Target: Tires, September 30, 1990. Photo © Terry Evans, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery
After spending eight years photographing Kansas’ (tiny but still hanging-in-there) virgin prairie, Terry Evans felt stuck. ”It wasn’t that I was bored [with it],” says the artist. “It was just that I had photographed it to the limits of my vision.” But then she came across an image that made her see the Great Plains in a completely new way. The photo in question, of an abandoned atomic bomb test site in the Pacific, reminded Evans of an aerial view of the Konza Prairie, near her home. And with that she grabbed her camera, climbed into a four-seat Cessna 172, and took to the sky.
The resulting photographs, taken between 1990 and 1994, are on view in “The Inhabited Prairie,” which runs through July 3 at the Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York City. The exhibition presents a complex, often contradictory view of the American Heartland, and of our relationship to it. “I wanted to show all the layers of the prairie,” Evans tells Architizer, “how time and history and human development is embedded into the land. And to do that I really needed to look at it from above.” See more photos below.