Lonnie Holley, 1997-1999

Elijah Gowin is a storyteller. He seeks his narrative in a variety of landscapes but is deeply attracted to environments created by self-taught artist.  These are spaces that have developed and grown over many years, possessing layers of information, revealing truths about the maker and his world, and sometimes ours, not found otherwise.  Gowin has had the opportunity to see these spaces grow and flourish and, as in the case with Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden and Lonnie Holley’s One Acre of Art, change dramatically or disappear completely.  With the camera, Gowin is able to describe and document, but more importantly he isolates themes and possible narratives as well as moments of revelation within these deeply layered, sometimes chaotic installations that offer insight into the work of the artist.

Download full introduction by Gail Andrews Trechsel, Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art, originally appearing in The Light Work Annual, Contact Sheet 102.