March 3 -May 4, 2017

Lawrence McFarland

From Dodge City to Shiprock

First View of Mountains, Driving Out of Kansas, Highway 96, Colorado, 
1991/2012 (High Plains Revisited)

As a young and now an older man I look out over the High Plains with wonderment. I am eternally curious about what lies just over the horizon. I have continued to pursue that magical place and to find what is revealed once you reach that space where earth and sky meet. Once I finally arrived at that space, the horizon line, what is reveled, of course, is more exciting landscape to be explored.

My photographs function as a metaphoric poem. They define not only my photographic journey but in a larger sense my life. My life’s journey is about remembering where I came from, the people I traveled with, and what I have learned and experienced. It is about how I have reacted to crisis and how I honor beauty. It is about how I treat the weak and helpless. This journey is about who I have become through photography.

The history of the Western States is the driving force behind my forty plus years of photographing the West. My images become a record of my journey, my encounters, my integrity, and my curiosities. They show the joy and the sorrow of the open road, the horizon line that you can never meet, and the pursuit of the spaces that I seek. My images show, and I consider this to be the core of my work, the optimism of the journey, the wonder of discovery, and the revealing of events that happen if you pay attention. The amount of time and energy that I have expended over my lifetime in pursuit of my images depict an epic journey of my commitment and my passion for life and photography. They are an impressive poem of my quest to find the mythical landscape that exists out there someplace inside my mind. -Lawrence McFarland

ABOUT THE ARTIST- Lawrence McFarland received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kansas City Art Institute in 1973 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1976. Throughout his career, McFarland has been a thoughtful and generous member of the wider photography community. From 1985 to 2013, he taught photography at the University of Texas at Austin and was awarded the first William and Bettye Nowlin Endowed Professorship in Photography in 2003, the same year that he chaired the national Society for Photographic Education conference in Austin. From 2001-2009, he served on the national board of SPE. 

McFarland's work has focused on the mythic American west for over four decades and was supported by three National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship Grants (1978-79, 1984-85, and 1990-91). He was also awarded the Ferguson Grant in 1982 from the Friends of Photography in Carmel, California, an organization founded by Ansel Adams that shaped photographic discourse for over three decades with exhibitions, publications and awards. McFarland’s most significant honor was a coveted John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2010-11. His photographs are exhibited widely and held in numerous prominent public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the Amon Carter Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Sheldon Museum of Art.