American Dreams: The Paradox of Failed Subdivisions in Georgia

UntitledIndian RiverUntitledUntitledLot C63 - Worth LaneView from Masters Oaks SubdivisionLots P03-P13 - Sidney Lanier AvenueLot 56 - Spring Sound LaneLot 30 - Stonewood FieldLot 48 - Red Maple LaneLot 50D - Traditions WayLot 160 - Ivy Creek DriveCreekside ManorLot 2295 - TownsideLot 45H - Cotton Gin RowCreek RidgeParcel B01P002Lot 77H - Cotton Gin RowChampagne LaneLots 5405-5409 - Avalon BoulevardGrove ParkLot 3 - Gage LaneButterfly LaneView from Lot 208 - Calgary DownsDawn DriveLot 163 - Fairways LaneLot L4 - Merchant StreetLot D20 - O'Conner Blvd.Lot 308 - Northwoods DriveLot 6 - Ridge PointeView from Lot 26 - Ideal PlaceLot 260 - Evening Mist LaneLot 19 - Stonewood DriveLot 4 - Stoney BrookLot E1 - Glenloc CircleAugust AvenueLot 160 - Ivy Creek DriveLantern WalkLot 29 - Harperfield WayLot I5 - Holly Springs CourtLot 150 - Buttercup LaneLots 1-40 - Jackson Station DriveEllington FarmsSienna Valley DriveTurning Leaf LaneAmphora DriveNiagara DriveLot 1 - Kerala GardensMorgan DriveLot 21 - Longleaf RoadLot 7532 - Rutgers AvenueMontrose WayLot 9 - August AvenueCreekview DriveLot 4D - Martin MeadowsLot 90 - Brooks VillageLots 202-210 - The GroveLot F8 - Eudora Welty WayLot 130 - Macalester DriveMaddox RoadLot 135 - New Liberty WayAmerican FlagSelling the American DreamSocio-economics of the American DreamEcology of an American Dream

 

Artist’s Statement:

“… suburbia is the site of promises, dreams, and fantasies. It is a landscape of the imagination where Americans situate ambitions for upward mobility and economic security, ideals about freedom and private property, and longings for social harmony and spiritual uplift.”           –Dolores Hayden, Building Suburbia

My photographs are part of an ongoing project to document the facts and fictions of failed residential developments throughout Georgia. While many of these subdivisions remain unrealized, they have created an alien aesthetic that is neither rural landscape nor suburban neighborhood. Through these images, I hope to convey the long-term ecological and social impacts of human actions, the fragility and resilience of nature, small acts of human reclamation and redemption, and the unfulfilled American Dreams that lie fallow in farm fields across America.

Between 1982 and 2007, more than 23 million acres of agricultural land—an area the size of Indiana—were developed in America. During this period, housing development outpaced the nation’s population increase. By 2010, the number of vacant homes across the American landscape reached 19 million. A year earlier, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia had approximately 150,000 empty residential lots. A 2013 study suggested that Georgia was one of five states that accounted for more than one-third of the 6.4 million homes across the nation with negative equity mortgages.

Quietly disconcerting are subdivision entrance signs that still promise “pristine lakes [that] wash away the demands of the world,” “a place where the country club fits right into the country,” “[a community] where you will experience what real Southern Hospitality truly is,” and “the place you’ll never wish to leave.” Following the Great Recession of 2007-2010, suburbia brought about an unexpected reality for many families: promises broken, dreams taken away, and fantasies dissolved.

 

 

 

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News:

  •  Karen Haas (Lane Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA) has selected two photographs from this series for  the Photowork ’14 National Juried Photography Show at the Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, from June 14-July 12, 2014.

 

  • Three photographs from this series will be featured in the “American Dream”  exhibit from June 6-July 20, 2014, at the Georgetown Art Center in Georgetown, Texas.

 

  • Keith Johnson selected 2 photographs from this series from the upcoming exhibition entitled “The Contaminated Landscape,” which will take place at Gallery 136 1/2 in Manchester, Connecticut, from May 24-June 19, 2014. For more information, click here.

 

  • Cynthia Farrell (Gallery Director at the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design at Georgia State University), Cinque Hicks (Atlanta art critic), and Nick Madden (visual artist) selected 3 photographs from this series for the 2014 Fine Arts Exhibition at the Decatur Arts Festival. The images will be on display in the Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott College from May 20-June 8, 2014. For more information, click here.

 

  • Michelle L’Heureux (Gallery Director of the Beard and Weil Galleries at Wheaton College and Curator of the Kniznick Gallery at Brandeis University) selected 2 photographs for part of the exhibition “Landscape at the Edge: Contemporary Views” at Hera Gallery in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, from April 5-May 3, 2014.

 

  • “Creekview Drive” received an honorable mention from jurors Amy Wolff (Photo Editor for Photo District News), Damien Poulain (Founder, Oodee), and Robert Berman (Robert Berman Gallery) for the International Photography Awards “One Shot: One World” Competition (Places / Non-Professional Category). To view the gallery click here.

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  • Molly Roberts from Smithsonian Magazine selected the image “P03-P13 – Sidney Lanier Avenue” to be featured in the Oso Bay Biennial XVIII Documentary Photography Exhibition to be held at the Weil Gallery at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas. For a review and photographs from the exhibition, click here.

 

  • Annette Cone-Skelton (Co-Founder/President/CEO/Founding Director of The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia) selected two photographs for the LaGrange National XXVIII Exhibition at the Lamar Dodd Art Center in LaGrange, Georgia.

 

  • Karen Irvine (Curator of Photographs for the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College in Chicago) selected nine photographs as part of the Atlanta Photography Group’s “Portfolio Show” at the Tula Art Center in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information click here.

 

 

  • Kate Ware (Curator of Photographs at the New Mexico Museum of Art) selected one of the photographs from this series as part of the “Photography and Environmental Concern” Exhibition at PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, VT. For more information click here.