Brad Temkin  |  Unexpected Beauty: Transforming Water
Sunday, October 27th at 4:30 pm
Most aspects of contemporary human existence, including water supply, air quality and, ultimately, our physical and mental health, are impacted by population growth and urbanization. A case in point is storm water runoff which is generally considered waste. Yet, more than 700 American cities reclaim and reuse waste and storm water with the use of combined sewer systems. As we mimic nature and separate impurities like sludge, salt and chemicals, a transformation occurs. The recycled, transformed water is used for agricultural irrigation and even as drinking water. Chicago photographer, Brad Temkin, brings attention to the visual and ecological beauty of the transformation of wastewater by showing the structures and processes that go largely unseen.

Temkin believes that it matters less what each structure is used for; or, whether the water pictured in his photographs is pure or wastewater. His eye is drawn to the strangeness of these forms and their distorted sense of scale. Moving beyond mere description, he embraces the abstract and surreal landscape of water transformation.

While tension necessarily exists between our survival and our resources, according to Temkin, his "…practice focuses on humanity’s delicate interdependence with the environment – how we appreciate and accommodate it, and how it accommodates us –rather than the more glaring aspects of environmental plunder." By capturing the unexpected beauty that exists in this relationship, his work encourages the viewer to ask their own questions about urbanization, infrastructure and environmental responsibility.
About the Artist
Chicago native Brad Temkin is best known for his photographs of the contemporary landscape. He has been an adjunct professor at Columbia College in Chicago since 1984. His work is in numerous permanent art collections, including: The Art Institute of Chicago; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Ft. Worth; and, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.

His images have appeared in such publications as Aperture, Black & White Magazine, TIME Magazine and European Photography. He has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships including an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in 2007, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017.

A monograph of Temkin’s work entitled "Private Places: Photographs of Chicago Gardens" (Center for American Places) was published in 2005. Temkin’s second book entitled, "ROOFTOP," was released by Radius Books in 2015. His latest book, "Brad Temkin: The State of Water,” (Radius Books), was released in May 2019.