Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present Tomorrow Ever Comes, an exhibition by San Francisco based photographer McNair Evans. This is Evans’ second exhibition with the gallery.
Between 2012 and 2022 McNair Evans took 11 trips around the United States traveling by Amtrak, systematically covering every route within their passenger rail system with a cumulative 1,050 hours spent onboard. Photographing fellow passengers, passing landscapes, Amtrak workers, and interior train scenes, Evans’ photographs communicate a persistent hope within this once ubiquitous form of travel.
Prints are exhibited unframed and in a range of sizes – adhered directly to the wall and laid out in a lyrical aesthetic. Collaboration between photographer and subject comprises a strong component of the work, and the installation reflects the togetherness of train travel and Evans’ immersive process. Facsimiles of stories that Evans solicited from fellow passengers along his many trips are installed in a loose, interactive manner intended to encourage personal engagement.
Train interiors are inherently liminal spaces – while the passengers change, the backdrop stays the same – the effect is democratizing. While there is an ethos of in-between-ness to all forms of travel, for the simple reason that it’s what happens between “here” and “there,” train travel exaggerates this experience simply by its slowness and because the trains themselves are tethered to the ground, moving deliberately through swaths of roadless landscape. Awash in intoxicating light, Evans’s images elicit a sense of longing – a palpable feeling of being together alone. They remind us how to share public space for a common advantage and evoke a profound impulse to linger.
McNair Evans is a nationally exhibited artist and active guest lecturer. He grew up in Laurinburg, NC where he worked repairing crossties and tracks for a 32-mile freight railroad. He discovered photography as an anthropology student at Davidson College while recording the oral history for an Appalachian family in Madison County, NC. His first monograph, Confessions for a Son, was published by Owl & Tiger Books in 2014. Evans is the recipient of numerous awards including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (2016), the Innovation in Documentary Arts Award from Duke University (2017), and the John Gutmann Photography Fellowship (2014). His photographs have been featured in numerous publications including Harper’s Magazine, Oxford American, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, as well as on the cover of William Faulkner’s novel, Flags in the Dust. His books and prints are held in public and private collections including the Sir Elton John Collection, SFMOMA, UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, and the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University.