George Gardner: Two Decades 1960-1980
March 27 - May 22, 2010
Photography dealer Kathy McCarver Root and her gallery, KMR Arts, proudly announce the opening of a one man show of vintage photographs entitled, "George Gardner: Two Decades 1960-1980." The exhibition opens March 27 with an artist’s reception from 2-5pm and continues through May 22, 2010.
George Gardner (b.1940) is a relentless seer, whose photographs highlight scenes that are familiar yet disturbingly strange. Largely self taught, Gardner’s extensive travels throughout the United States of America via car, motorcycle and his 1947 Cessna 195, yielded photographs with a deep sense of humanity and knowledge of his subject. Gardner explains, " America is my place…Anyplace else, I'm just a tourist, I don't connect. In America, I feel as if I have some deep notion of what's going on. I am trying to get at what I think about America. I can feel this country. But the connection between me and it is tenuous enough so that I really do have to pay attention. Otherwise, I will lose it. So I don't relax. " Whether photographing the chaos of Mardi Gras, the antics at Naked City Indiana, or a couple on a Venice, California beach, Gardner renders his subjects with a portraitist's sympathy, their dignity fully intact.
Jim Hughes wrote in the introduction to Gardner’s fine art monograph, America Illustrated, in 1982:
A parking lot seen from above. A black man's toothy face shining up at the camera from an upholstered chair in a garbage strewn Cleveland street, a Great Society button in his lapel. A street corner in Missouri, where overalled and shirtsleeved farmers meet slicked and suited candidates for County office. A picnic in a dandelion meadow, people looking this way and that, condensed against each other by distance and a long lens while a boy floats almost imperceptibly in the foreground, his sneakers a full two feet off the ground.
A triangulated composition of wires and poles, framing a rural power station against whose chain-link fence a big white sign declares: God Is.
I was seeing, clearly and possibly for the first time, middle America, which is all America: the America of Saturday afternoon high school football, concrete highways to towns named Fate, and undeclared wars featured on the six o'clock news. This was not Apple Pie America, nor Glamor America, nor Ugly America, nor Bloody America. This was an America most people lived in and few people looked at. This was America as it must be, and I was seeing it because a citizen named George Gardner was taking me there...