Outlands: Land Over Time showcases the different uses and conditions of land and related built environment outside an urban setting. Focused on how the land has been cultivated, neglected or exploited, this exhibition is an attempt to trace how Americans’ approach and their stance in relation to land has changed over the past 50 years – from large corporate farms to family-owned, from tightly controlled chemical induced farming, to the more organic and sustainable.
Whether looking at seasonal changes of the land or failed family farms, not only has the land itself changed, but the way photographers approach the subject has evolved both in style and content. Debbie Fleming Caffery’s cane fields, Maude Schuyler Clay’s country roads, and Tom Rankin’s sacred spaces in the Mississippi Delta represent a traditional documentary approach to the land.
Photographers such as Rachel Barrett, Susan Hadorn, Jason Houston, Holly Lynton, and Kathleen Robbins approach the land in different ways. Robbins focuses on her family farm in the Mississippi Delta, the strange pull to her history and this farm land, while Jason Houston uses his photographs of sustainable farms and farmers to “provoke a critical conversation about where our food comes from and the sustainability and vitality of that system.” Through thoughtful and artful documentation, photographers have been able to give us a glimpse into an evolving and changing lifestyle.