The Eye of Photography - Etherton Gallery: Paul Hart: The Fens

The Eye of Photography, April 12, 2022

British photographer Paul Hart’s debut exhibition in the USA opens at Etherton GalleryPaul Hart : The Fens features works from the Fenland Series ; FARMED (2009-15), DRAINED (2016-17) and RECLAIMED (2018-19) made by the artist as silver gelatin prints. The exhibition runs from 5th April – 28 May in the Pop-Up Gallery in conjunction with the gallery exhibition Transience by artist Kate Breakey.

Paul Hart (b. 1961) is interested in our relationship with the landscape from both a cultural and an environmental perspective. His work examines human-altered topography and our occupation and stewardship of the land, usually concentrating on one specific geographical region where he photographs intensively over a number of years. He works primarily with the black and white analogue process, using large and medium format film cameras, and his practice involves all aspects of the photographic process from the negative through to the gelatin silver print. Hart has received a number of international awards ; in 2018/19 he was granted the inaugural Wolf Suschitzky Prize (UK/Austria) and was shortlisted for the Mark Rothko Memorial Trust Award (Latvia) and the HARIBAN Award (Japan).

The Fens, originally a region of low-lying marshland in the east of England, has been artificially drained over centuries to provide some of Britain’s most fertile agricultural land. It is a landscape of agribusiness with monoculture at it’s core, defined by human migration and long-term reclamation from the sea. For over ten years Hart has explored this wide-open landscape of straight lines and flat horizons, and nature’s vulnerability within this unsheltered, unprotected environment.

Etherton Gallery is a long-standing member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD). Since 1981 the gallery has showcased the icons of the history of photography as well as contemporary artists changing its course, participating in fine art photography fairs including the AIPAD Photography Show NY, Classic Photographs LA, and Paris Photo.

“Hart’s landscapes create a dialogue between art and document, lyricism and storytelling, the sublime and the ordinary… Almost everywhere, rectilinear and regular shapes unfold, impeccably drawn furrows responding to rows of trees, industrial constructions and metal structures… Unlike the sort of landscape photography that long incarnated the collective and historical body of the nation, Hart’s images take on a universal value : the battered and exhausted Fens resonate like a subtle metaphor for what humanity engenders and inflicts on itself.”

Isabelle Bonnet, RECLAIMED, Dewi Lewis Publishing (2020)


Kate Breakey : Transience – Paul Hart : The Fens
5th April – 28th May, 2022
Etherton Gallery
340 S. Convent Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA

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