October 16, 2018

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Fine Arts Gallery Exhibit Records Vanishing Era of Space Race, Cold War

Abandoned in Place will run through Friday, Nov. 2, in VSU's Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery.





All images by Roland Miller. From top to bottom: "Peace," "Missile Fuel," "Flooded Room," "Plug Board," and "NASA Logo Detail."

VALDOSTA — Featuring documentary and fine art photography by Roland Miller, the Valdosta State University Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery’s latest exhibition, Abandoned in Place, is an artistic effort to preserve America’s space history.

“Abandoned In Place is a photographic exploration of the American space-launch and research facilities that played a crucial role in the early period of space exploration,” according to the artist. “The project serves not only as a documentary body of work but also as an artistic interpretation of these historic sites. A unique combination of documentary, abstract, and hybrid images allows Abandoned In Place to be viewed from many perspectives. The exhibition records a vanishing era in both the space race and the Cold War. The temporal nature of life is evident in views of decaying sites, which once captured the attention of the entire world.

“The facilities photographed in Abandoned In Place portray one of the most historic and technical adventures of the last century — from our first unmanned flights beyond the atmosphere to landing men on the moon. A sense of the urgency of the space race is evident in many of the images. Signs and labels in the images reflect the technology of the era. The structures depicted also recall the darker threat of nuclear war. Some of the images describe a future that could have been if the Cold War had heated up. These launch complexes, engine test stands, and wind tunnels are the Bunker Hill and Gettysburg of the Cold War. References to the Great Pyramids, Chichen Itza, Stonehenge, and other major archeological sites foreshadow the future of these modern ruins.

“The goals of this project are to preserve and portray these abandoned sites through photography that surpasses the official government approach to documentation and to lend some social, historic, and artistic insight to the subject.

“One of the unique aspects of Abandoned In Place is the combined utilization of documentary and abstract approaches to the subject. This blended approach helps tell a more complete story of the effort to begin exploring space. The serendipity of juxtaposed objects and text on signs conveys a subtext beyond the documentary objectives of the work.”

Miller was born in Chicago, Illinois. He studied photography at Utah State University from 1976 to 1983, earning both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts. He served as an associate professor of photography at Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Florida, and the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, where he also served as dean of the Communication Arts, Humanities, and Fine Arts Division.

Miller’s work has been featured in “Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine,” “Florida Today,” “Kodak’s Photo Educator International,” and numerous other publications. His photographs are included in permanent collections in the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the NASA Art Collection, and the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, Alabama.

Abandoned in Place will run through Friday, Nov. 2.

The Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery is located on the first floor of VSU’s Fine Arts Building, at the intersection of Brookwood Drive and Oak Street. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is free of charge.

Contact Julie Bowland, Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery director and professor of art, at (229) 333-5835 or jabowlan@valdosta.edu to learn more or to schedule a guided tour of the exhibition.

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