William Tinker


Just across the street from my boyhood home in Lincoln, Nebraska laid four sections of prairie land. It was totally undeveloped. A family dispute kept it in litigation for years. The city just developed around it.

In three directions my friends and I experienced a normal, middle class neighborhood. To the west, however, lay an unbroken horizon of virgin prairie. It would take less than a minute to run waist deep into prairie grass, providing us with an historically pure stage on which the games and dramas of childhood were played daily.

The prairies long ago gave way to carefully measured sections of land. Fenced by millions of planted trees acting as windbreaks, the farms and pastures that have grown up inside these boundaries create - for me - an irresistible attraction to this agrarian world.

In 1979 I moved my family to the country. Today it is no longer country. We are surrounded by some of the most aggressive urban expansion seen in this country…all contributing to environmental issues and the pervasive disappearance of the small farm. Developers are chewing up some of our most fertile land at an alarming rate.

In my work, I try to represent the land as it is today: the cultivator’s geometric patterns, the contrasts of crops and meadows, the expanses and elusive skies, and the Midwest light. I work to avoid banality while trying to record the intimacies and apparitions of this landscape.

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