Another affirmation of the Great Plains

Cody Jean Carson Brown's Migration

One of the things that makes central Nebraska really unique is the Spring migration of the Sandhill Cranes. All sorts of events go on during the month of March in response to the roughly 500,000 cranes descending on the Platte River Valley. Earlier this week my wife and I enjoyed the opening reception of Stuhr Museum’s annual Wings Over the Platte exhibit.

It’s quite a good show, worth seeing if you’re in the area. I was glad to see acquaintance Doug Johnson getting Best of Show. His recent work is going in a creative and wonderfully unexpected direction, which is sometimes lacking in Midwestern art shows. Another fascinating piece was the mixed media (but mostly ceramic) wall sculpture by Cody Jean Carson Brown pictured to the right.

However, the most interesting thing at the exhibit was not visual. It was the bio/artist statement from featured artist Jason Jilg.

Born and raised in Broken Bow, [Nebraska], Jason could not leave the Great Plains fast enough. The world pulled with all its exotic lands and cultures, so Jason joined the Navy and traveled the world to see these locations . . .

. . . If I were given the choice of traveling Europe or some location in the American Plains, I’d probably pick the Plains . . . This part of America that is “in between.” In between the American West, American South and the very different American Midwest in terms of not only geography, but also time, place and memory.

This is interesting to me, if you haven’t figured it out yet, as yet another validation of the plains, the prairie: Lampooned by so much of America, loved by so many that have taken the time to observe it.

Jason’s photography is some of the better photography I’ve seen in recent memory. The exhibit wasn’t perfect; it lacked a focal point as a whole and some of the prints were pushed a little too far — a la Ansel Adams. But it’s obvious Jilg possesses the necessary skills to excel at the craft. He’s careful about choosing and composing his subject matter and uses the frame very well. His sense of scale shooting on the prairie as a subject is also very acute. I’m looking forward to seeing more of his images in the near future.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

One Response to Another affirmation of the Great Plains

  1. Pingback: Photography Critique « Jason Jilg Photography

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