Terry Evans is a photographer and the premier visual artist of the Great Plains. She has also trained her lens on other places and topics, including steel mills of Chicago and glaciers of Greenland. She is a Kansas City native, a KU graduate, and former member of the board of the Land Institute.
The Great Plains lacked a great visual artist until Evans devoted herself to the region. The mountains of the United States have long had their iconic artists, including painters (the Hudson River School, Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt) and photographers (Ansel Adams). The Plains lacked someone who could translate our region into arresting images, partly because prairies lack promontories that could provide wide vistas and dramatic peaks. How does one portray flat space in a way that is accurate and compelling? Evans has done so by using close photography of some subjects, such as the people living in Matfield Green, Kansas, and by photographing landscapes from the air, such as wheat fields and oil fields. The result has been stunning photographs that are beautiful, sensitive, humane, and provocative. They compel us to look closely at the places we live, the way we shape them, and the way they shape us. Plows, mines, water, light, weather, and time shape the Plains in profound but hard-to-see ways. Evans brings these processes to light. She is just as interested in people as in nature. She photographs faces of the people who work the Plains, helping us see not just where we work but who we are.
Evans has exhibited her work at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Chicago Art Institute, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the Field Museum of Natural History. Her work is in major museum collections, including the Chicago Art Institute, Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Evans has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Anonymous Was a Woman Award.