Midwest Photographers Project: Andrew Borowiec

Rhodia phosphoric acid plant, Geismar, Louisiana, 1999

About the Exhibition

The high standard of living in the United States calls for ever-increasing mass production of power and consumer goods. While we benefit from these manufactured goods (electricity, plastic, chemicals, gasoline), their generation impacts our environment. Andrew Borowiec’s formal, black-and-white, panoramic studies of American refineries and production plants reflect this conflict in our contemporary landscape, and its specific sculpting for the assumed benefit of its inhabitants.

In Borowiec’s 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 limit. A lone telephone booth in a vast, empty, paved lot, neatly divided piles of rubbish, or several bicycles dwarfed by the ominous structure of a Texas refinery remind us of the underlying civilization they serve. Borowiec brings these usually remote facilities close to us, drawing our attention and raising awareness regarding the consequences of our contemporary pace of life and consumption.

Andrew Borowiec (United States, born 1956) received his BA in Russian from Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania (1979), and his MFA in photography from Yale University (1982). In 1998 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he has received numerous grants from the Ohio Arts Council. Borowiec currently lives in Akron, Ohio, and is a professor of art at the Mary Schiller Myers School of Art, the University of Akron.