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2014 Recipient: Ethan Ross

Artist Statement

My work focuses on humankind’s complex physical and metaphysical relationship with the Earth. We live on the Earth; on top of and within the surface, we dwell here in the environment we’ve created for ourselves. Over generations of dam building, mining, agriculture, forestry, and the vast multitude of other physical interventions within the land, we have constructed for ourselves an environment that is at once both synthetic and natural; what I call hybrid landscapes. It is with the blending of the two that a new nature begins to emerge.

Culture’s perception of land and land use has changed as much, if not more, than the physical changes enacted upon the Earth. We have realized that our environment is not infinite while at the same time humankind continues to expand more than it ever has, thus creating deeper complexity in how we reconcile land use with environmental preservation. With the disturbing reality that the trajectory of human influence cannot be sustained indefinitely that we, as a members and benefactors of modern society, are bound to the paradox created by living with the conveniences of modern society while simultaneously attempting to reduce our impact on the Earth. The dialectic created by this paradox has begun a paradigm shift that is changing the images we make of the natural world.

My chosen medium is large format, B+W landscape photography whose long history of documenting the changing landscape is the perfect vehicle for expressing the dawn of a new natural age. The images capture this new nature by directing the lens toward both the human and non-human elements of a landscape. We are currently in a transitional period and I am exploring how various levels of interaction between natural and synthetic bare this transition out. I maintain a connection to history through the medium thus subverting landscape photography’s claim to the permanence of the land.


“It's a Nice Place to Raise a Family”

"No Stone Unturned: Hybrid Landscapes & Eco Systems"
Ethan Ross solo exhibit, April 4 - 30, 2016