Frank Gohlke

(1942) American


Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, Gohlke received a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 1964, and an M.A. in English from Yale in 1967. He studied photography with Paul Caponigro in 1967-68. Soon after, he himself began teaching at a number of institutions. He has also worked as a freelance photographer since 1967. Among his notable works are a series documenting volcanic activity and its aftermath at Mount Saint Helens, Washington. Gohlke has been honored with a Minnesota State Arts Council Artist's Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a Bush Foundation grant. In 1980, he was commissioned to make a series of mural photographs for Tulsa International Airport. His work has been shown at the George Eastman House, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Amon Carter Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. It was included in the New Topographics exhibition in 1975, and a fifteen-year retrospective of his work, Landscapes from the Middle of the World, was shown at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago in 1988; a catalogue accompanied the exhibition.
Gohlke is perhaps best known as a photographer of midwestern icons, the most compelling of which are the grain elevators he has visually defined as "measures of emptiness." Consideration of distance and place are central to his work, which he characterizes as essentially lyrical, or concerned with describing the interaction between inner and outer realities, and the often elegiac relationship of loss and longing among person, place, and time.
Lisa Soccio
Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 217.
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