Opening Reception for Robb Hill - Homeland:Fragments

  • July 7, 2017
  • pictura gallery
  • 122 W. 6th Street, Bloomington, IN 47404
  • 812-336-0000
  • 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
  • Free

Brick Gallery, presenting “Homelands” by Robb Hill. Photographs documenting the changing landscape of his childhood home of Utica, Indiana.

Homelands started as a documentary project to record the land where I grew up before big machines altered it. I’ve been returning to Utica, Indiana, several times a year for the last 13 years to hike the trails and fields I played in as a kid. With each footstep, I look for fragments of the world I once knew so well.

An abandoned car stripped of chrome by friends is now little more than a pile of rust. A thick stone wall surrounding a small family cemetery still stands after a century and a half but fails to keep mother nature from planting trees inside. Those concrete stairs on the side of a hill still go nowhere. These ruins were once my playground, guideposts, and tetanus hazards. They were also my first history lesson.

These remanants made me realize we define ourselves by shaping the land around us. As I walked the same trails over and over, I came to see how land holds on to memories far longer than people do. And how the same land also allows us to create new identities on top of old.

With the construction of the Lewis and Clark Bridge over the Ohio River and the extension of I-265, a new layer of identity has been applied to the land. Much of the woods, pastures, and limestone cliffs have been converted to concrete, steel, and asphalt.

When my family and friends look out onto this new landscape, they don’t see the homes they’ve made. They now have to take the past, add it to today, and build a new identity.

 

-Robb Hill

Opening Reception for Robb Hill - Homeland:Fragments