Midwest Photographers Project: Paul J. Clark

About the Exhibition

Paul J. Clark has been photographing community gardens for almost ten years, however, he rarely includes evidence of their urban and suburban contexts. Instead, he focuses on the details contained within these sanctuaries, creating poetic visual metaphors for our complex relationship with nature. Often revisiting the same places, his images become witness to the passage of time and the ever-changing relationship between the vegetation and the man-made structures designed to control and support it. Grids of wire become intricate arrangements when stacked together, while rigid wooden stakes and supports appear weak and overwhelmed by the growth they were meant to support. Reducing his subjects to minimal forms and lines, Clark’s photographs become analogs of the meditative atmosphere in which they are created, their thin black borders highlighting the physical and psychological enclosure that gardens offer. Using both a clean, graphic style as well as an intimate and at times romantic one, Clark invites the viewer to experience these spaces as both formally beautiful and emotionally rich.

-Marci LeBrun, Curatorial Assistant