J Henry Fair - Abstraction of Destruction


J Henry Fair - Inside of tank at Syncrude oil sands upgrader - web12 March - 30 April (prolongated until 4 June) 2011 

American photographer and environmental activist J Henry Fair presents with ‘Abstraction of Destruction’ his first exhibition in The Netherlands. Beautiful aerial images of abstract, colourful landscapes reveal the ways how humans and industries affect the environment. The subjects range from oil drilling and coal ash waste to large-scale agricultural production and abandoned mining operations.

The striking photographs conjure imagery of alchemy including rich palettes of green, blue, orange and yellow. Each photo, while abstract to the eye, contains mysterious hints to the subject matter therein. These forms capture the tradition of painted abstraction reminiscent of the works of Jean Dubuffet, Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock. Yet the haunting images are not abstraction at all, but actual photographs of industrial scars on our landscape.

Fair’s mission is to incite the viewer’s awareness of environmental pollution caused by our consumerism. Rather than illustrating harsh rusting destruction, he captures mostly from the air (as these sites are restricted) the bizarre beauty of our ubiquitous waste. The paradox established in the indistinct region between abstraction and representation reflects the schizophrenia of despoiling our life support systems in pursuit of our indulgences. 

J Henry Fair started as a corporate and portrait photographer. He currently lives and works in New York. Recently his first book has been published: ‘The Day After Tomorrow: Images of Our Earth in Crisis’. Fair’s photos have been showcased in the USA, Europe and Asia, in art exhibits and galleries. His environmental work has received impressive press coverage, including features in Harper’s Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times, Smithsonian and TIME Magazine, as well on CNN and NBC’s Today Show.

⇒ The Artist Page of J Henry Fair

⇒ J Henry Fair in the Press

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