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Beyond the Plantations: Images of the New South, Photographs by Michelle Van Parys
July 1, 2019 - February 8, 2020
Images of the Old South are often sanitized views of a perfect and prosperous plantation life yet ignore the conflict, conquest, and transformation that is manifested in the changing landscape. The photographs from Beyond the Plantations: Images of the New South present the contemporary southern landscape in all of its rich complexity.
The photographs from Beyond the Plantations: Images of the New South present the contemporary southern landscape in all of its rich complexity. These images examine the layers of change within the human-inhabited landscape — geological, archeological, historical, cultural, and ecological. I see the landscape as dynamic representation of the complex relationship we have with our surroundings over time. It is the accumulation of layers of human trace within this verdant landscape that drives this series of photographs. These images are offered in contrast to the idealized landscapes that are often illustrated in depictions of the south through literature, cinema, or visual art. Images of the Old South are often sanitized views of a perfect and prosperous plantation life yet ignore the conflict, conquest, and transformation that is manifested in the changing landscape. The photographs incorporate the physical beauty of the landscape within the context of its longstanding complexities and contradictions.
About the Artist
Michelle Van Parys was born in Arlington, Virginia. She is a Professor at the College of Charleston in the Studio Art Department where she started the photography program in 1996. Michelle received her B.F.A. from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C, and her M.F.A. in Photography from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions. A monograph of her photographs entitled The Way Out West: Desert Landscapes was published in 2009 by the Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago. Michelle Van Parys has been the recipient of the Virginia Museum Fellowship and the South Carolina Arts Commission Fellowship. Her photographs are included in several museum collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The High Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and the Portland Art Museum.
Video & Connections: Exhibition Guide
Michelle VanParys – Faculty page provided by the College of Charleston.
Michelle Van Parys: The States Project: South Carolina – LENSCRATCH.
The Way Out West – Available from The University of Chicago Press.