Jack Spencer's "This Land, An American Portrait" is an exhibition of nearly 25 works spanning 13 years of imagery and the entire nation as source material.

A new large-format book, "This Land," published by the University of Texas Press accompanies the exhibition.

Spencer began the series in 2003 as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During the thirteen ensuing years Spencer traveled by car to forty-eight states to capture an immense portrait of what it means to live in America today.

Initially Spencer's vision for this series was motivated by anger towards America and the decision to go war. His emotions manifested themselves in the darkroom where he distressed photographs -- tearing edges, gouging surfaces, and splattering prints with various substances.

He remembers, "That body of work progressed for another seven years, during which time I eventually began to see the beauty of America, and my approach softened. I suppose the work explores the idea that the country has myriad facets. It is ugly and beautiful and all possible description in between all at once..."

"...Eventually, the work evolved into an appreciation of this land of ours." Likewise over the years his methods of distressing the photographs shifted, and he began glazing with pigments and toning the print surfaces, to create a more reflective image.

"As I continued this work, my view softened a bit with the realization that this country is an astounding piece of real estate that few ever witness fully. There is beauty in the most out of way places..."

"...It is abandoned yet teeming. It is small yet vast. It is serene yet chaotic. It is new and old, beautiful and horrific..."

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