The exhibition, at the Larry Wayne Richards Gallery in Toronto, was part of CONTACT, Toronto's annual month-long festival of photography. Academic support for this project was provided by Adrian Blackwell, a professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. The text that accompanies the show explains my intentions:
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) and Henry Ford (1863-1947) were two towering historical figures in America and beyond. Ford is credited with Fordism, that is, mass production of a good coupled with high wages for the workers who produced the good, so as to permit them to purchase it themselves. This resulted in widespread prosperity, centred on consumerism. Wright's Usonian project was a sequence of architectural propositions designed in response to the needs of this emerging middle-class. Both men had totalizing visions for society, visions that persist today in bastardized form. Fordism broke down in the early 1970's as the economies of Western nations shifted away from manufacturing and industry and towards the knowledge economy. Elements of Usonia, such as single-family homes on generous lots, curvilinear streets and the carport, characterize the suburbs of the contemporary american city. Today, the majority of Wright's built Usonian work survives in cities that have made the difficult transition from a Fordist to a post-Fordist economy, and yet the buildings themselves remain frozen in time as a result of their landmark status. By presenting a selection of Wright's work paired with its contemporary context - be it decayed or renewed - I reveal the tension between visionary architecture and the evolving urban landscape.
The show prints were arranged as diptychs or in larger groupings, all located on a single street. The group of eight images that form the centrepiece of the show are shown below. They were all shot on Howe Street in Racine, Wisconsin, the site of Frank Lloyd Wright's seminal Johnson Wax Building.
All images from this body of work is available for purchase. Prices range from $400 for framed diptychs to $1200 for the framed Johnson Wax series shown above. Please contact me for more information.
This exhibition was generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.