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'Terrain Vague'

University of Southern Maine (Glickman Library), Portland
07.02.2013 - 03.05.2013 

Spanish Architect Ignasi de Solà-Morales coined the term terrain vague to describe the abandoned, ambiguous, or marginalized pieces of land within an urban landscape that stand in contrast to the otherwise cohesive, definable organization of the city. These kinds of spaces – abandoned lots, post-industrial sites, bridge underpasses, for example – define the character of a cityscape through these pauses and stutters of visual dissonance. 

My intention with this work is to expand on Morales’s notion to use it with a bit of poetic license in order  to describe a sense of longing I find so prevalent in these landscapes. The empty storefronts, the spaces between modest homes, and vacant lots are for me filled with beauty, despair, yearning, and disappointment. These photographs do not present us with beautiful or idyllic spaces. These are the spaces most of us barely bother to notice; all the more reason to give them our heightened attention.

In this particular iteration of the project — the complete series is so far comprised of over 60 photographs — some of the work goes back to before this project started in earnest. The first photograph in the exhibit, for instance, Springfield, Missouri, 1997, is included to show the genesis of this project and represents for me the beginning of this work and, along with a few later images from Southern Maine, is included to provide context for the more recent work. [Gary M. Green, 2013]

Titles of images: 
Portland, Maine, 2007
College Avenue, Waterville, Maine, 2011
Springfield, Missouri, 1997
Winslow, Maine, 2012

© Gary M. Green

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