Senior Lecturer in Studio Art
Virginia Beahan received her MFA from Tyler School of Art in 1984. Since then she has traveled extensively making landscape photographs with her 8”x10” Deardorff view camera, working in the manner of many distinguished large format photographers before her such as Timothy O’Sullivan and Ansel Adams. She was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993 to continue photographing in Italy and Asia. Her monograph, No Ordinary Land, was published by the Aperture Foundation in 1998 and is the culmination of a 10-year collaboration with photographer Laura McPhee. The work examines the complex relationship between culture and nature in such diverse places as Iceland, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and Sri Lanka.
In 2001, Beahan began a project in Cuba, looking at the ways the social and political landscape reveals stories about both the past and the present. Her new monograph, CUBA singing with bright tears, depicts a country both tragic and beautiful, struggling beneath the weight of history. Larger-than-life images of revolutionary heroes Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos populate the island. Sublime and treacherous bodies of water remind us of Cuba’s isolation, though it is only 90 miles from U.S. shores. José Martí’s words are literally written on the land as he reminds us, “Education is freedom.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco MoMA, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, are among the many institutions that have collected Beahan’s photographs.