Location, Literary Imagination Converge in ‘Robert McDonald: Native Grounds’

Photo by Robert McDonald

Robert McDonald’s Guns and Wardrobe, 2008, Epson Ultra chrome prints from negatives, is from the collection of the artist.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 19, 2014 – “Robert McDonald: Native Grounds,” a photography exhibit, will be on display beginning Sept. 2 in the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

This exhibition is a part of the Transitions Space Series and a Faulkner Conference Special Exhibit.

The public is invited to attend an artist talk and closing reception at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25. The exhibit will remain on display through Oct. 26.

“In these photographs, I explore the role of place in shaping literary imagination: the notion that writers compose out of a peculiar understanding and depth of connection to physical space, remembered or immediate,” McDonald said. “Personal interests have led me to focus on writers who have lived and worked in the southern region of the United States. “

McDonald used a primitive hand-held film camera in creating the images for this exhibit.

“For this series, I am making images that depict points of origin—meditating on personal spaces and landscapes in light of my familiarity with and curiosity about selected writers’ works and biographies,” explained McDonald. “These are particularly intimate photographs that propose narratives of connection in the development of vision and voice. In this regard, Native Ground is a kind of supreme fiction — my imagination of how physical spaces, lives lived, and art converge.”

McDonald lives in Lexington, Va., where he is a professor of English and fine arts and associate dean of the faculty at Virginia Military Institute. His most recent book is “Cy’s Rollei (Nazraeli),” published with Sally Mann and Even Rogers.

Work on “Native Grounds” has been supported by grants from the Virginia Military Institute Faculty Research Committee.

The Crisp Museum is located in the Cultural Arts Center at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus, located at 518 S. Fountain St. in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. on weekends. For more information, call (573) 651-2260 or email museum@semo.edu.