McMaster exhibit chronicles 7,000-mile road trip

Posted on: 10/13/2015; Updated on: 10/22/2015
By Glenn Hare, 803-777-3685

The McMaster Gallery at the University of South Carolina will exhibit “Roadside,” a solo visual display chronicling Lauren Greenwald’s 7,000-mile cross-country odyssey. On view Oct. 29 through Dec. 10, the exhibition features images created using a wide range of photographic tools she carried during her drive through more than 20 states.

Avoiding the interstate highways, Greenwald drove many of the nation’s two-lane and smaller back roads, inspired in part by William Least Heat-Moon’s “Blue Highways,” a term he coined in his autobiography that refers to the small, forgotten, out-of-the-way roads that connect rural America, says Greenwald who earned degrees from the College of Charleston and University of New Mexico.

A professor of photography in the School of Visual Art and Design, she photographed scenic vistas, tourist spots and miles and miles of empty landscape from the roadside during her travels.

Traveling alone, Greenwald carried lots of gear. “I was able to turn my car into a mobile studio,” she says. Among her equipment were several wooden pinhole cameras, a Horseman medium format panoramic camera, a Polaroid 250 Land camera, a digital point-and-shoot for video and a Holga, a medium-format plastic camera.

The images in “Roadside” aren’t a complete travel log, explains Shannon Lindsey, the director of McMaster Gallery. “The art captures the essence of a road trip experienced in fleeting moments. You do not get the whole story from the images, but just enough information to gain a sense of place, much like recalling a memory of driving through an unfamiliar area.”

Take for example, “US 90 (Pecos River),” an archival inkjet print that captures a dilapidated awning above a deserted gas pump. The print gives no trace of surrounding buildings, but places this venue of the past in a barren landscape of trees and rubble. “It excites the imagination of what might have been and what the future hold for this place. Will it prosper or continue to wither away?” says Lindsey.

If you are going

The McMaster Gallery will host an opening reception and a gallery talk with the artist from 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday (Oct. 29). Greenwald's talk begins at 6 p.m.

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