Exhibition Dates: September 14 – November 30, 2016
Artist’s Reception & Book Signing: Saturday, October 22 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Carry Me Ohio is the first of four series belonging to an overarching narrative, The Invisible Yoke, by Virginia based photographer Matt Eich. The work of this emerging artist is both intimate and gruff. It carries a visceral immediacy. We feel these places, we don’t just see them through the Artist’s lens, and that is what makes them most uncomfortable- we are implicated by work that depicts a vision of American we may not like to think about, much less see.
Eich is a story teller, and over the decade it took to complete Carry Me Ohio he was attentive to all angles. Carry Me Ohio is more than a nuanced portrayal of a handful of small Ohio towns, it is a finger on the pulse of Middle America. The history* here is as deep as the mines that fueled the boom years of the region. Today, pride remains in the “Little Cities of Black Diamonds,” but the jobs have dried up. The extractive industries have taken most of the coal, salt, and clay they sought, and another local industry, the Rocky Shoes & Boots Factory, moved out of the country. The university Eich attended is the largest employer in the region, followed by Wal-Mart. These are the stories of Middle America.
Eich’s images are not easy, yet they are not without hope. The longer we engage Eich’s work, the more beauty we discover. The photographs depict a deep sense of community, a love of family, and a belief in the future: township history is told on painted walls, the fall hunt will provide bounty, the swimming hole is a refuge for local teens, and faith in a greater power holds up when nothing else will. The Middle America that in many ways built this country and reaffirmed the foundations of the American Dream lies here. We are all complicit in the future we build as a nation; their story is our story too, so on the eve of an election it is opportune to stop and look at who we are and where we are going- Carry Me Ohio.
About the Book: Carry Me Ohio | Monograph by Sturm & Drang
This is the first of four books from The Invisible Yoke series slated to be made with the Swiss publisher; it will release this fall. The Artist will sign copies at the Gallery reception on Oct. 22. Copies of the book will be available at the Gallery or can be ordered online from Sturm & Drang.
About the Artist: Matt Eich holds a BS in Photojournalism from Ohio University and MFA in Photography from Hartford Art School’s International Limited-Residency Program. An established photojournalist, Eich has an impressive list of editorial clients including Al Jazeera America, Business Week, Esquire, GQ, National Geographic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, TIME, and WIRED, among many others. Eich has received grant support from The Alexia Foundation, the Aaron Siskind Fellowship, NPPA, National Geographic Magazine and twice received The Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography. Public collections for his personal work include The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Portland Art Museum, Light Work, and the The New York Public Library, among others.
* Digging into the region’s history, we discover that during the American Civil War Confederate General John Hunt Morgan lead a raid through the same region Eich photographed. Both General and Photographer traveled through Nelsonville. When Gen. Morgan passed through town, he set boats and a covered bridge ablaze; citizens not only rallied to save the bridge by extinguishing the fire, an act which allowed Union troops to pursue the Confederates, they later prepared a feast in honor of the Union soldiers. Though this story is not directly referenced in the work, it reveals the type of legacy engrained in the community.