Art of the Week: The evocative same-place, multi-time photos of Terry Evans’ Ancient Prairies

Night, near Salina, Kansas, April 2020 (2020). Archival pigment print, 40 x 40 inches.  Credit: Terry Evans

By Kaitlyn Scanlon, Alliance Intern from Oregon State University ’26

Imagine a compilation of stunning photographic patchworks of the same prairie landscape, tree, or night sky over the course of several days, all bearing their own unique weather conditions and perspectives. Terry Evans, a Chicago-based and Kansas-raised artist, is most well-known “for her photographs of the people, landscapes, and artifacts of the American Midwest. She grew up in the heart of the American prairie, inspiring her lifelong passion for the Great Plains, which she has photographed since the mid-1970s,” as told by the Yancey Richardson Gallery.

Night, near Salina, Kansas, April 2020 is comprised of daily photos taken over a month on evening walks taken while sheltering on her Kansas farm during the pandemic according to Yancey. Evans’ photography website describes it as a mosaic of “rectilinear violet hues, punctuated by two moons, a shooting star and the silhouette of her husband, her lone companion, on the distant horizon.” The mesmerizing artwork allows viewers to appreciate the unique aspects of each singular sky square, while also seeing the unique artistry found in the cohesion of each piece. 

Terry Evans (b. 1944) is a long-time photographer who has “exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum, Ft. Worth, and the Field Museum, Chicago,” as told by Yancey Richardson gallery.

Terry Evans holds a deep reverence for “the wisdom and beauty of intact prairies”. She recognizes the devastating environmental impacts of fossil fuel overconsumption and climate change wreaked by human activity, but also gives “a tribute to the kinship between humans and nature” through her works in Ancient Prairies, according to her website.

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