Central New York

February 17, 2011

Backyards: A Photographic Series by Matt Goupil-Proirtta

color photo of a house and backyardFebruary 17, 2011 through April 17, 2011

Opening Reception February 17, 2011 from 5 to 7 P.M.

The backyards of American homes have developed their own aesthetics properties since the boom of post war expansion of the suburban landscape. With this in mind, backyards have become an integral part of the American dream. The American backyard has become a place of repose, a safe and controlled space for recreational activities, or is seen as a forgotten dumping ground. Through this series of photographs of backyards, elements of social stratification, cultural acceptance, individualism, and the results of socio-economic conditions become more apparent. This visual investigation of backyards also raises questions about aesthetic conformity in the suburban sprawl to the realities of the urban community, and the open spaces of the rural landscape.

Another element of the series, examines the idea of public verses private space, and how one chooses to express themselves within their own backyard. In some cases the backyard acts as a private sanctuary, fences acting as walls, allowing the owner to control their environment. In other cases the backyard is unused altogether or spills into greater spaces. The concept of identity begins to raise new questions about why some people embrace their backyards and others shun them. Answers to these questions may lie in cultural upbringing, economic standings in the community, and accepted social aesthetics or the rejection of them. By looking at this series of photographs the viewer can begin to examine their own Backyard(s) and how these spaces affect both their individual behavior and reflect their community as a whole.