Frank Gohlke American, 1942-
Frank William Gohlke thinks of the landscape as "human artifact," examining in his photographs the complex interplay between nature and the built environment. From his early black-and-white images of midwestern grain elevators to his later, mural-sized color works, Gohlke has sought to convey a sense of space as presence, rather than absence. He uses man-made structures as grounding points for the eye against an expansive, otherwise incomprehensible horizon. With meditative constancy and a penchant for the poetic, Gohlke sees photography as a means for "losing himself" so that he may paradoxically discover a vision of the world uniquely his own. His work has been included in several significant exhibitions, including New Topographics (George Eastman House, Rochester, 1975) and John Szarkowski's Photography Until Now (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1989).
Gohlke (born in Wichita Falls, Texas) attended Davidson College in North Carolina (1960-63) and the University of Texas, Austin (B.A. in English, 1964), pursuing English literature at Yale University (M.A. 1967). Over the next two years he met Walker Evans -- a decided influence -- and studied photography with Paul Caponigro. Gohlke then began teaching, first at Middlebury College in Vermont (1968-71), where he established the school's first photography program. He has also taught at the Blake Schools (1973-75) and the University of Minnesota Extension, Minneapolis (1975-79), Colorado College (1977-81), Carleton College (1980), Yale University Graduate School (1981), and the Massachusetts College of Art (1989-94).
His honors include a Seagram Bicentennial Courthouse Project Award (1975) and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Council (1973), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1975, 1984), the National Endowment for the Arts (1977, 1987), and the Bush Foundation (1979), as well as a McKnight Foundation/Film in the Cities Photographic Fellowship (1983). Gohlke lives in Ashland, Massachusetts. A.W.