The Akron Art Museum will be featuring Andrew Borowiec's exhibition, "Looking for the American Dream", from February 20th through May 30th, 2010. The show will feature pieces from two separate periods of his work.
In the first gallery the museum is showing some of his earlier black and white photos (mostly from his series Along the Ohio) which chronicle his journey to towns along the Ohio River.
The photographs in this series focus on the aftermath of industry. There are white picket fences, empty stores and crumbling buildings. A sight not unfamiliar to the residents of Akron. The collection seems to focus on survival- on what still exists from the former glory days of the rust belt and how the suburban landscape has adjusted to its poverty and persevered.
The second gallery is filled with some of his larger color prints from a series entitled The New Heartland. This collection is from his more recent work and documents his travels in the Midwest. There is a completely different feel to this collection. There are photographs of freshly built housing communities with front yards consisting of mud piles covered in grass seed. There is a concentration on the rebirth of the housing market (perhaps ironic today) and of the cookie cutter houses that inhabit them. There are also several prints of the new suburban malls/communities (in the tradition of Legacy Village and Crocker Park) that have begun to spring up around the midwest.
As I studied the collections I began to see the dialogue- a juxtaposition between the old and then new- between the impoverished and the wealthy.
But that is just scratching the surface. There is complexity in our origins and our aspirations in the midwest. The midwest seeks the American dream with just as much fervour as the rest of the country. In these tough economic times, perhaps we need to contemplate just where our dreams are taking us. If we keep building these great buildings will they someday be the crumbling facades of a fading town? Are the idealized new towns that we create a reimagining of the white picket fence or a commercialized corruption of it? The answers are not easy- but the fact that Mr. Borowiec could raise them with his art makes his collection well worth a viewing.
Akron Art Museum
One South High Akron, OH 44308
Wednesday - Sunday: 11 am - 5 pm
Thursday: 11 am - 9 pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday
**Mr. Borowiec will also be giving a free lecture (limited seating) concerning his exhibition on Sunday, March 7 in Charles and Jane Lehner Auditorium. He will discuss the innovations he has made in his newer body of work, including his use of color and digital editing.