Lucas Foglia

Untold stories of the Wild West

For his series "Frontcountry", the American artist Lucas Foglia spent years touring remote regions in the backcountry of the American West. Having grown up in a rural area of New York State, Foglia was overcome by the seemingly unending vastness of nature that he encountered on the fringes of civilization. Only a few scattered communities exist in the landscapes he photographed; the isolated swathes of land in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming are among the regions with the lowest population density in the United States. They are home to families that have grown crops and raised livestock for generations and therefore depend on the nature around them for their livelihood. The mining boom has done little to change this reliance, despite the short-term prosperity and steady working hours it promises. In "Frontcountry", Lucas Foglia presents images from a world in which time appears to have stood still, and which is now facing major upheavals. Above all, they tell the story of the people who live there and their attempts to live from and with the forces of their harsh environment in which they have to survive day by day.

At first glance, Foglia’s photographs fulfill our expectations of images of the Wild West, at least insofar as what they show, if not in how they show it. His harmonious compositions and impressive landscape scenes do not belie the fact that his homage to life on the fringes of society also reveals the bitter truth of this existence. The surreal-looking scenes appear to be fragments of stories that Foglia does not tell, but evokes in the viewer’s imagination. Stories of freedom, strength and courage, but also of loneliness, loss and cruelty. They are omnipresent – in the motif of the armed cowboy, whose impressive balancing act on a pole hints at his impending fall, or a cow about to be killed that calmly stares directly into the camera’s lens, or a green house out of which hundreds of garbage bags filled with empty beer cans spill forth. In "Frontcountry", Foglia creates a strange visual world in which truth and fiction coalesce.

Biographical information

1983

born in Huntington, New York, USA

2010

receives his Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the Yale University School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut

2012

participates in the Rencontres d’Arles, France;
publishes his first photobook, A Natural Order

2013

solo exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Colorado;
participates in the Triennial of the International Center of Photography, New York

2014

receives an Individual Photographer’s Fellowship from the Aaron Siskind Foundation, New York

2015

his work group “Frontcountry” (2006–2013) is exhibited in a solo show in the Magdeburg Art Museum, as well as in the group show “Imagine Reality” at RAY Fotografieprojekte, Frankfurt am Main

lives and works in San Francisco, California, USA.