Gary Cawood: The States Project: Arkansas
It’s my great pleasure to start this week off with Gary Cawood, whom I have known the longest. Gary was one of my two photography professors in undergraduate school at Louisiana Tech University. As I have gotten to know him past my student days, I have recognized that he is one of the most dedicated artists I know. He photographs every day and his colleagues and I joke with him saying, “Is it a Cawood kinda day?” Meaning until he started his current project, he would love to photograph on the dreariest of days. The drearier the better!
I have chosen to highlight his current project, Earthworks which is his color work. In general, I’m drawn black and white photographs and having people in photographs. But this is neither, I’m curious and I want to know more and I hope you do to
Gary Cawood received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Auburn University in 1970, and after service as a VISTA in the Pittsburgh Architect’s Workshop, began a serious study of photography in 1972. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from East Tennessee State University in 1976 He has taught at the University of Delaware, Louisiana Tech University and the Prague School for Photographic Studies. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he was Head of the Photography Area.
Cawood’s photographs have been widely exhibited throughout the United States. Recent solos include: Charno Gallery, Kansas City, MO, 2014; Viewpoint, Sacramento, CA, 2013 and Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka, CA 2013. A work was also included in Something in the Way at the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2016. He has received Visual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the Arkansas Arts Council. His work is included in numerous public collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, the Amon Carter Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Although retired from his academic position, Cawood continues to photograph and exhibit on a regular basis, with an emphasis on new projects to explore. Gathering inspiration from a variety of sources, Cawood remains committed to his craft and vision.
I’m interested in how humans reshape the natural terrain. Since 2006 I’ve photographed land forms that have been disrupted in a dramatic fashion. Over time however, the processes of growth and decay transform these surface scars—not to their original state to be sure—but rather a new form of landscape. After the earth moving equipment departs, the natural forces go to work, and the process of restoration begins.
Man versus nature is an old theme in literature and art, and I hope my images provide some fresh insight. One approach is to photograph the details in a straightforward manner. From the proliferation of spontaneous growth to the intrigue of fresh dozer marks, the sites are rich in visual possibilities. But I’m especially interested in a more proactive approach, where I manipulate the subject in various ways.
By simply rearranging a few elements, the options expand considerably. Whether carefully repositioning or tossing objects randomly, the composition is then refined by carefully framing in the classical photographic tradition. I also bring a variety of items to the site to interact with the existing condition. I like new and shiny, as well as old and tattered. And I like making things to be photographed.
I’m experimenting with different kinds of objects to make and a variety of materials to use. So obviously there’s a sculptural component to my approach. And arranging objects in a certain context is a form of still life. I constantly explore the works of artists in many media—both widely recognized and hardly known. I believe it’s important for any artist to open themselves up to a wide range of possibilities. But my final product is a traditional photograph exploiting some existing condition. Although the sites where I’m photographing are compelling in their own right, by including a diversity of objects and ideas in the mix, I feel that the imagery is enhanced. I’m working to achieve a richness and complexity that perhaps viewers will find intriguing. – Gary Cawood
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Joli Livaudais: The States Project: ArkansasFebruary 24th, 2018
Kristen Spickard: The States Project: ArkansasFebruary 23rd, 2018
Maxine Payne: The States Project: ArkansasFebruary 22nd, 2018
Carey W. Roberson: The States Project: ArkansasFebruary 21st, 2018
Gary Cawood: The States Project: ArkansasFebruary 20th, 2018