13
Jun
09

Exhibition: ‘Sawdust Mountain’ photographs by Eirik Johnson at Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco

Exhibition dates: 21st May – 27th June, 2009

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974) 'Freshly Felled Trees, Nemah, Washington' 2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974)
Freshly Felled Trees, Nemah, Washington from the series Sawdust Mountain
2006-2008

 

 

Not much joy in this melancholy tone poem, but there doesn’t need to be. Masses of history, memory, anxiety, isolation and death, all reinforced by Johnson’s photographic perspective, which seems to flatten out the pictorial plane. Some stunning photographs and others that don’t hit the mark, but overall a very strong body of work. View the complex, environmental, social documentary photographs of the Sawdust Mountain series on Eirik Johnson’s website.

Marcus

.
Many thankx to Rena Bransten Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“When I was a young, my family would hunt for mushrooms in the forests of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Some days we would spend afternoons along the shallows of a river watching salmon fight their way to spawning grounds upstream. These were the icons of the region: forest and salmon, pillars of Northwest identity. These photographs address the complicated relationship between the region’s landscape, the industries that rely upon natural recourses, and the communities they support.

‘Sawdust Mountain’ is a melancholy love letter of sorts, a personal reflection on the region’s past, its hardscrabble identity and the turbulent future it must navigate.”

.
Eirik Johnson

 

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974) 'Junked Blue Trucks, Forks, Washington' 2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974)
Junked Blue Trucks, Forks, Washington from the series Sawdust Mountain
2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974) 'Elwha River Dam, Washington' 2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974)
Elwha River Dam, Washington from the series Sawdust Mountain
2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974) 'Stacked logs in Weyerhaeuser sort yard, Cosmopolis, Washington' 2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974)
Stacked logs in Weyerhaeuser sort yard, Cosmopolis, Washington from the series Sawdust Mountain
2006 – 2008

 

 

“Eirik Johnson’s colour photographs chronicle his study of Sawdust Mountain, a once idyllic patch of the Pacific Northwest now in decline after a century of human encroachment. The story is a familiar one – early settlers attracted by the sublime beauty and abundant natural resources – of Washington state in the case – began local nature-based industries that eventually depleted the natural resources. The romance of lumberjacks and fishermen taming the wilderness and living off the land has been replaced by the hardscrabble reality of those now trying to eke out a living as well as conservationists and ecologists trying to save and restore the landscape. Johnson presents a well-rounded portrait of a town and country struggling to find solutions to these conflicting demands. His photographs capture the history and legacy of the industries, the landscape at the centre of the vortex, and the changes undertaken to staunch the economic and ecological declines so all can survive.

Johnson was born in Seattle, WA and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, Seattle and with a Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. Sawdust Mountain photographs will also be exhibited at the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington who co-published the accompanying book with Aperture. Other Johnson book and exhibitions include Borderlands from 2006 and Animal Holes from 2007. Johnson is currently living and teaching in Boston at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.”

Text from the Rena Bransten Gallery website [Online] Cited 11/06/2009 no longer available online

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974) 'Weyerhaeuser sorting yard along the Chehalis River, Cosmopolis, Washington' 2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974)
Weyerhaeuser sorting yard along the Chehalis River, Cosmopolis, Washington from the series Sawdust Mountain
2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974) 'Stacked alder boards, Seaport Lumber Planer, South Bend, Washington' 2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974)
Stacked alder boards, Seaport Lumber Planer, South Bend, Washington from the series Sawdust Mountain
2006 – 2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974) 'Adult books, firewood and truck for sale, Port Angeles, Washington' 2006-2008

 

Eirik Johnson (American, b. 1974)
Adult books, firewood and truck for sale, Port Angeles, Washington from the series Sawdust Mountain
2006 – 2008

 

 

“A culmination of four years of photographing throughout Oregon, Washington, and Northern California, Sawdust Mountain focuses on the tenuous relationship between industries reliant upon natural resources and the communities they support.

Timber and salmon are the bedrock of a regional Northwest identity, but the environmental impact of these declining industries has been increasingly at odds with the contemporary ideal of sustainability. In this, his second book, Johnson reveals a landscape imbued with an uncertain future – no longer the region of boomtowns built upon the riches of massive old-growth forests.

Johnson, a Seattle native, describes his photographs as “a melancholy love letter of sorts, my own personal ramblings.” Through this poetic approach, Sawdust Mountain records a region affected by historic economic complexities, and by extension, one aspect of our fraught relationship with the environment in the twenty-first century.”

Text from the Aperture Foundation website.

The book Sawdust Mountain by Eirik Johnson is published by Aperture Foundation and is available on their website.

 

 

Rena Bransten Gallery
1275 Minnesota St.,
San Francisco, CA 94107

Opening hours:
Tues – Saturday, 11.00 – 5.00pm

Rena Bransten Gallery website

Eirik Johnson website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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