About the Photographer
American, b. 1956
Andrew Borowiec's photographs belong to an American school of landscape photography that seeks to reveal cultural patterns and truths through the precise description of real places. Two bodies of work are included in the Museum of Contemporary Photography's permanent collection, with four pictures representing Borowiec's Along the Ohio series and four pictures from the more recent Gulf Coast Industrial Landscape series that consists of panoramic documents of industrial sites and factories along the Mississippi.
Amidst the boarded-up houses, rusting factories and parking lots at river's edge, Borowiec discovers an order to things in his Ohio River project. Portsmouth, Ohio, 1994, for instance, illustrates how unlike elements can fit together in a manner both seamless and revealing. In the image a web of wires attaches to the houses, a large satellite dish rises above a low roof, and an aged house sits behind a pair of mismatched vehicles parked in the shade of a carport. The scene is as comfortable as it is familiar, perhaps even reassuring. In writing on the Ohio River project, Borowiec states: "Appreciating the Ohio requires a rarer and more inclusive idea, one of a beauty that exists not despite but thanks to mankind's shaping influence on the landscape." Borowiec juxtaposes the relics of man's built environment with the natural environment, commenting on the relationship between the two.
The photographs of Gulf Coast Industrial Landscape lack the personal and domestic touches of Along the Ohio. In these highly formal and dynamic pictures miles of steel piping and chemical tanks signal complex functionality, but there is little evidence of the human life they both improve and impoverish. Borowiec brings these usually remote facilities close to us, drawing our attention to the source of our material conveniences, and suggesting the consequences of our contemporary pace of life and consumption.
Andrew Borowiec was born in New York in 1956. He spent his early years in Europe and North Africa, later returning to the United States where he lived in the urban Northeast before taking up his current residence in Akron, Ohio. He received his BA in Russian from Haverford College, Pennsylvania (1979), and his MFA in Photography from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (1982). In 1998 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he has received numerous grants from the Ohio Arts Council. His photographs are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington D.C. His most recent solo exhibitions have been at t Cincinnati Public Library, Ohio; Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Photofest, Promega Corporation, Madison, Wisconsin. Borowiec is currently a professor of art at the Mary Schiller Myers School of Art at the University of Akron.