Point Pleasant: Photographs by Joshua Dudley Greer
The ETSU Department of Art & Design and Slocumb Galleries in partnership with USA Projects and the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts present ”Point Pleasant” an exhibition of large scale photographs by Joshua Dudley Greer from January 14 to February 8, 2013, at the Slocumb Galleries. The artist’s lecture and reception is on January 24, Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m. at the Ball Hall Auditorium.
According to Greer, the photographs in the exhibition are images of “the ruins of a once monumental military-industrial complex as it tangles with the surrounding landscape of forest, fields and swamp.” The subject of this exhibition is the West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW), formerly an explosives manufacturing facility, constructed specifically for the production and storage of trinitrotoluene (TNT) during World War II, located outside Point Pleasant in West Virginia. Declared surplus and closed in 1945, the WVOW land that occupied 8,000 acres along the eastern bank of Ohio River was deeded to the state of West Virginia and eventually became the McClintic State Wildlife Management Area. System of ponds and wetlands were constructed as habitat for wildlife species, a popular local hangout area that came to be known as T.N.T. In the early 1980’s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), declared the groundwater, soil and surface water at T.N.T. as heavily contaminated with explosive compounds. Though extensive cleanup was initiated in 1991, many of the toxic contaminants were simply buried on site.
Greer describes the site as “a haunting place of beauty, mystery and violence.” Employing an 8x10 view camera, Greer photographed structures that “offer a glimpse of what has transpired on this site, “many of which “refer indirectly to violence and environmental neglect through metaphor. “ Inspired by this complex history, Greer views the remnants of the WVOW facility “as relics to our nation's violent history, while the re-purposed landscape hides much of its true nature just beneath the surface.” A prominent series of works in the Point Pleasant exhibition feature the TNT storage igloos, Greer depicted these structures “in a serial typology to convey the massive scale of contemporary weapons production, while the emptiness of the landscape, photographed with a muted palette and diffused light, is meant to evoke a kind of post-apocalyptic environment - one that is at times bleak and somber, yet also strangely resilient and beautiful.”
Joshua Dudley Greer is a visiting faculty at the ETSU Department of Art & Design teaching digital photography. He received his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of Georgia in Athens. The Point Pleasant series was featured at the Contemporary Focus exhibition at the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) in 2012.
The Slocumb Galleries are located at Ernest C. Ball Hall, ETSU Campus in Johnson City. All events are open to the public free of charge. The Galleries are open Mondays thru Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with extended hours during receptions and scheduled tours. For more information, contact SG Director Karlota Contreras-Koterbay at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 423.483.3179. You may also visit www.etsu.edu/cas/art/slocumb or the ETSU PlanIt Calendar under Museum & Galleries or Visual Arts categories. To see more about the artist’s work, please visit http://www.jdudleygreer.com.