ClampArt is proud to present an exhibition of new work by artist, Stephen Wilkes, including photographs of the construction of the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, China (to coincide with the 2008 Summer Olympic Games) and other massive public work projects currently underway in the country.
Traveling throughout China, Stephen Wilkes has pictured a nation amidst behemoth transformation. Focusing on both rural and industrial settings — and the increasing number of areas where the two collide — the artist draws our attention to a changing way of life. The large, spectacular imagery speaks of a new era in China, as aptly symbolized by the 2008 Olympic Games.
Projects such as the infamous Three Gorges Dam — the largest construction project in China since the Great Wall — clearly represent the country’s headlong plunge into the 21st century. The Three Gorges Dam, one and a half miles wide and more than six hundred feet high, will create a reservoir nearly three hundred seventy-five miles in length, displacing well more than one million people. While expected to be able to generate the electricity of eighteen nuclear power plants, one cannot help but weigh the environmental and sociological costs. Cognizant of the individual lives affected by such a monumental enterprise, Stephen Wilkes endeavors not merely to marvel at the engineering genius required to construct these public works; he hopes to remind his audience of the human implications posed by these jobs (both good and bad).
Stephen Wilkes has been widely recognized for his artwork for over two decades. His images have been reproduced on the covers of such top publications as Sports Illustrated, Time, Life, and The New York Times Magazine. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC; and the Dow Jones Company Collection, New York City.