The Robert Koch Gallery is pleased to present its first exhibition of photographs by Alex MacLean, who for over thirty years has been documenting a changing American landscape, and the complex relationship between its natural and constructed environments. Internationally recognized for his aerial photography and ecological commitment, the works in The American Landscape at the Tipping Point bear eloquent witness to the marks and transformations humanity has wrought on the American landscape.
Trained as an architect at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, MacLean earned a Masters Degree in Architecture and also became grounded in urban design through his work on projects in the Unites States and Europe for close to 40 years. Drawing on his background in architecture and urban design, MacLean’s aerial lens captures the proliferation of parking lots, housing developments, and agricultural fields that embody the profound impact of human habitation on the Earth. “I seek out odd occurrences in the physical landscape that serve as metaphors for shifts in societal values. These images tell important stories about our cultural standards.” For decades, MacLean has used his camera to document this American obsession with development, and the extent to which we have manipulated and transformed the environment to suit our needs. MacLean’s images are aesthetically seductive, defined by bold color, texture, and pattern, but offer a warning. His photographs depict a relationship that has reached a tipping point, an American way of life that is no longer environmentally sustainable.
MacLean’s photographs have been exhibited widely in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, at such major institutions as the Centre Pompidou, the Menil Collection, Houston, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. He has won numerous awards, including the 2009 CORINE International Book Award for OVER: The American Landscape at the Tipping Point, the American Academy of Rome’s Prix de Rome in Landscape Architecture for 2003-2004, and grants from foundations such as the National Endowment for the Arts and Graham Foundation. MacLean’s work is the subject of ten monographs.