About Jonathon Wells

Photo by Brandon Jones

Current Practice

Trained as both a fine art photographer and as a geologist, Jonathon Wells has created scientifically accurate photo-geologic composites with both surface and subsurface views since 2002. He continues to build the existing Location, Environmental, and Extraction series at sites around the world where he identifies a thought-provoking intersection of land use and underlying geology.

Wells’ artistic process takes months of study and investigation. First, he searches for both landscapes and geologic frameworks that intrigue him.

He might spend days documenting a single city block. To visualize the substrata, Wells will turn to old and new geologic surveys and maps, to utility maps and geologic field guides. He’ll pull off roadways to photograph rock exposures, follow road workers and underground cable repairs with his camera, waiting for an exposed opening—a “window”—that will allow him to capture a glimpse of what lies below us. Finally, he creates the photo-geologic composite digitally, combining a documented landscape with the substrata below.



Art Resume

Solo Exhibitions

2017 Schweinfurth Art Center, Auburn, NY, Bedrock Revealed: Geologic Landscapes
2013 Castleton University, Castleton, VT, Earth Exposure: Vermont
2011 Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, Earth Unseen
  Mpls Photo Center, Minneapolis, MN, Earth Revealing
2010 WorkSpace Gallery, Lincoln, NE, Earth Cuts
2007 Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, CT, Surface/Subsurface
  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Boston, MA, Split Exposures
2006 Milton Academy, Milton, MA, Sub/Surface Construction
  Atrium Gallery at WGBH, Allston, MA

Group Exhibitions (select)

2018 D&R Greenway Land Trust, Johnson Education Center, Princeton, NJ,  Layers of the Earth: From Core to Cloud
2017 Vermont State House, Montpelier, VT, Finding Yourself in Vermont
2015 Peter Projects  Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, Inventory of Light: The Art of Systems Biology & Nanoscience, Website
2014 National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, Imagining Deep Time, Catalog
  SciArt Center, New York, NY, What Lies Beneath
2011 Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN, Wide-Eyed: Panoramic Photographs
2009 Form + Content Gallery, Minneapolis, MN, Form + Content x 2
2005 ArtSpace Gallery, Maynard, MA, Photography Now: Selections from the 2005 Massachusetts Cultural Artist Grant Awards
  Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA, New England Photographers 2005
  The Griffin Museum of Photography. Winchester, MA, 11th Annual Juried Show
2004 Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT, FACT/FICTION
  PH Gallery, New York, NY, DE/CONSTRUCT



Arcadis, Santiago, Chile
Bell Museum of Natural History, Saint Paul, MN
Bessemer Venture Partners, Larchmont, NY
Caspian Capital Management, New York, NY
Castleton College, Castleton, VT
Gradient Corporation, Cambridge, MA
Milton Hospital, Milton, MA
Macalester College, St. Paul, MN
Minnesota Geological Survey, St. Paul, MN
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
Nina Hale, Minneapolis, MN
Tufts University, Medford, MA
Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, MN
Private collections


2018 Pennsylvania Bureau of Geological Survey, Middletown, PA
2017 Central New York Association of Professional Geologists, Auburn, NY
  Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2016 Carleton College, Northfield, MN
2015 University of Minnesota, Improvising Ecosystems Project, St. Paul, MN
  Minnesota Geological Survey, St. Paul, MN
2014 Milton Academy, Milton, MA
  SciArtCenter, New York, NY
2013 Shrewsbury Library, Shrewsbury, VT
2012 Buckingham Friends School, Lahaska, PA
2011 Geological Society of America, Annual Meeting and Exposition - Exhibition Booth, Minneapolis, MN                   
  Mpls Photo Center, Minneapolis, MN
2009 St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
2007 Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, CT


2020 Newark Basin, Private Commission, Princeton, NJ
2016 Poster - Northeast Section Meeting, Albany, NY, Geological Society of America
2014 Private home in New Hope, PA
2009 Private home in West Marin County, CA


2018 SciArt Center, Colloquium, July, website link
2013 SciArt Magazine,  Straight Talk, October Issue



New Scientist, "In the Beginning: How geology taught us to think deep" review by Jonathan Keats, October 6, 2014 website link
Smithsonian.com, "What Does "Deep Time" Mean to You?" review by Helen Thompson, September 9, 2014 website link
The Scientist, "What Lies Beneath" review by Ajai Raj, June 23, 2014, website link

2013 Rutland Herald, " 'Earth Exposure': Where the Action is", visual art review, December 5, 2013
2011 MNartists.org, "The View from Here", article by Camille LeFevre, February 17, 2011
website link
  Minnesota Public Radio, art hounds, featuring Juliet Patterson talking about the exhibit, Earth Revealed, 02/17/11
website link
2006 McQuaid, Cate, Review, The Boston Globe, Calendar, Choice, Gallery 11/23,
“Jonathon Wells, ‘Sub/Surface Constructions”, November 23

Awards, Grants

2013 Dave Bown Projects — 6th Semiannual Competition (Curators: Marisa Pascuci, Reto Thüring, Adelina Vlas) Honorable Mention. website link 
2008 Nominee for the Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers
2005 Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Artist Grant Program finalist


2020 Image and explanation in, "Exploring the Invisible: Art, Science, and the Spiritual" by Lynn Gamwell, Princeton University Press, 2020. Figure 3-17, pages, 71-73.
2014 Cover image on, "Money, Money, Money | Water, Water, Water" by Jane Mead, Alice James Books, 2014. website link
2011 Photographs in “Re-Imaging the Galapagos.” Authored by Jil Evans in Turning Images in Philosophy, Science, & Religion: A New Book of Nature. Co-edited by Charles Taliaferro & Jil Evans. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2011. Figures 11.1, 11.2. website link
2009 Quodlibetica — writing, arts, criticism, Inaugural edition: Constellation 04: Wilderness, A Journey to Galapagos: A Photo Essay, written by Jonathon Wells, September 23, 2009, website link


Science Resume



2016 Professional Geologist, Pennsylvania
2018 Professional Geologist, New York

UHL & Associates, Lambertville, NJ, Geologist, (part-time)

Geology Work Experience

2019 – present

Geosyntec Consultants, Princeton, NJ, Senior Staff Geologist, Part-time

2013 — present

UHL & Associates, Lambertville, NJ, Senior Hydrogeologist, Part-time

1997 – 1999
Arcadis - Geraghty & Miller, Langhorn, PA, Staff Scientist
1996 – 1997
Woodward - Clyde Consultants, Blue Bell, PA, Senior Staff Hydrogeologist
1992 – 1996
Woodward - Clyde Consultants, Portland, OR & Seattle, WA, Senior Staff Hydrogeologist
1989 – 1990
Weston Geophysical - Baker Environmental, Westboro, MA, Geologist


  Jonathon Wells
2010 Light of Hope Home and School, Karate region of Naivasha, Kenya, Africa, The Water Cycle and A New Water Well


2002 Certificate General Studies in Photography, International Center of Photography, New York, NY
1995 Master of Arts Geology, Boston University, Boston, MA
1988 Bachelor of Science Earth Science, Cum Laude, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA