Then & Now – Gilbert, Arizona

9/13/15
Three years ago I graduated from my photography program at ASU and exhibited, for the first time, my thesis project Arid Zone Utopia in the show Click. The work was over a year in the making and was a heavily edited down group of suburban landscapes, from what I thought were unusually designed neighborhoods in Arizona. Of all of the images I shot, those from the Gilbert, Arizona locations worked best in my series, as I found their landscapes most contrasting from the natural desert.

As a result of that exhibition, I partnered with Art Intersection Gallery (of whom I had just finished an internship with at the time) to create a body of work from a family archive of prints and negatives on commission. The artwork and exhibition titled Revisiting the Photographs of Marvin Morrison was initially exhibited at Art Intersection in the summer of 2013, after a year of work into the project.

When Howard Morrison (son of Marvin Morrison and patron) and I first spoke about possibilities and scope of this project, we briefly mentioned a future possibility of a “then and now” show, since so many of my photographs are taken in the same locations as his father’s were, only 30-60 years apart.

Shifting Views Postcard Merge_DeGideo copy

The “then and now” of the project has finally taken shape as the exhibition Shifting Views, open now through October 31st at The Gallery at the Gilbert Historical Museum. The entire Morrison project, and nine more of my Gilbert Arid Zone Utopia images are on view, including three images never shown before. I believe the show takes an interesting look at the changing priorities and the booming expansion of this once modest farming town. If you are in the area, pay The Gallery a visit at 10 S. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert, AZ 85296.

Shifting Views Show Statement:
On exhibit, are works made throughout different periods of time, with different intentions. The similarities lie in that they were photographed in many of the same locations, 30 – 60 years apart from each other and both edited and printed by the same artist.

When I shot the landscape project Arid Zone Utopia, I was exploring and documenting many suburban neighborhoods throughout the state, but the Morrison Ranch and Agritopia areas were where I was most intrigued to photograph. At the time, being a self-admitted “desert rat”, I did not understand what these landscapes were in my desert world.

After having the fantastic opportunity to work with the Morrison family, sifting carefully through hundreds of images shot by Marvin Morrison, and listening to many family stories, I began to finally connect with the awkwardly beautiful place I had been investigating with my camera for so many years.

The result has been an unintentional collaboration between myself and the late Marvin Morrison, reflecting the changes this land has been through, and glimpse into the past and present.

– Gina DeGideo

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