Laura Wilson: Lambshead Ranch Revisited

Continuing through March 17, 2024

Explore moments of solitude, vulnerability and fellowship among the men and women who worked at Lambshead Ranch through the photographs of Laura Wilson

See Lambshead Ranch through the female gaze in Wilson’s work.

Eiteljorg fans might recall Laura Wilson’s compelling black-and-white photographs from the 2017 show, Dogs: Faithful and True, or they might know of her celebrity sons, film actors Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson. A nationally renowned contemporary photographer, Wilson began her professional career as an assistant to photographer Richard Avedon (American, 1923-2004) for the exhibition and book, In the American West, commissioned by the Amon Carter Museum. Through her work with Avedon, Wilson became fascinated with the West and the people who live around the edges of mainstream American society.

In the 1980’s,  Wilson spent four years getting to know Lambshead Ranch, located in Albany, Texas, and its patriarch, Watt Matthews (1899-1997). The result was a collection of images that examine life on the ranch: its people, animals, and surrounding landscapes. These photographs were published in Wilson’s first book, Watt Matthews of Lambshead in 1989.

This exhibition examines the implicit female gaze in Wilson’s work. She depicts moments of solitude, vulnerability, and fellowship among the men who work at ranch as well as women’s important role its maintenance and care. These moments are contrasted by images of harsh landscapes, brutal labor, and animal life. Even though this is one of Wilson’s early projects in her photography career, visitors will appreciate the ingenuity and visionary perspective of one of America’s most influential female photographers. This is the second rotation of photographs.

Plan your visit to see this exhibit

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How to visit: See exhibit Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun 12 p.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Exhibit is included with the cost of museum admission.

About Laura Wilson:

Laura Wilson’s photographs have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, London’s Sunday Times Magazine, and The Washington Post Magazine. She has published six books of photographs: Watt Matthews of Lambshead (Texas State Historical Society, 1989), Hutterites of Montana (Yale University Press, 2000), Avedon at Work (University of Texas Press, 2003), Grit and Glory (Bright Sky Press, 2003), That Day: Picture in the American West (Yale University Press, 2015), and From Rodin to Plensa (Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas, Texas, 2018).

Wilson was elected to the Philosophical Society of Texas and is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters where she won the Carr P. Collins award. She was also awarded the Royal Photographic Society of England’s Book of the Year for Avedon at Work. She currently serves on the board of the Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin, Texas and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, SMU, Dallas, Texas.

Wilson was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2019.

Museum Info

Monday – Saturday:
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Noon – 5 p.m.

500 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204