Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Northwest

22
Mar
18

Exhibition: ‘Into the Woods: Trees in Photography’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Exhibition dates: 18th November 2017 – 22nd April 2018

 

Gustave Le Gray. 'In the Forest of Fontainbleau (Bas-Bréau)' 1852

 

Gustave Le Gray
In the Forest of Fontainbleau (Bas-Bréau)
1852
Gold-toned albumen print from waxed paper negative
Chauncey Hare Townshend Bequest 1868

 

 

Gustave Le Gray trained as a painter in the 1840s but took up photography soon after. He followed the Barbizon School painters to the French forest of Fontainebleau, where he made enchanting photographic studies. Combining technical knowledge with artistic flair, Le Gray rapidly became one of the most renowned photographers of his day.

 

 

I grew up on a farm for the first thirteen years of my life. I played in the fields and forests of England, and wandered the cart paths with my brother. I saw him for the first time in thirty years last August, after the passing of my father. We went back and walked those very same paths where we grew up and looked at the magnificent trees planted along the edge of the fields. After all that had happened, it was an emotional and healing journey for both of us…

The innocence of being a child growing up on the land returned, the innocence of something that is never really forgotten. I still am a country boy at heart; I still love the land and the trees. I always will.

It’s a pity then, that this seems to be just a “filler” exhibition from the V&A. No press release, two sentences on the website (see below) and no information about the images such as details of process etc… I had to dig into the collection to find the information you read here, including the text descriptions beneath the images. For such a magical and mythical subject that has fascinated human beings since the beginning of time, you might have expected a more in depth investigation.

As an addendum I have included my favourite tree images. You will have your own. The last image in particular has that element of threat and wonder that makes the forest such a rich, fluid and evocative space.

Marcus

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Many thankx to the V&A for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Trees have long been a source of inspiration for artists. This display explores the diverse representation of trees in photography – as botanical subjects and poetic symbols, in the context of the natural and human worlds.

 

 

Royal Engineers. 'Cutting on the 49th Parallel, on the Right Bank of the Mooyie River Looking West' about 1860

 

Royal Engineers
Cutting on the 49th Parallel, on the Right Bank of the Mooyie River Looking West
about 1860
Albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative
Photographed by a Royal Engineers photographer on a U.S.-Canada Border Survey
Received from the Foreign Office 1863

 

 

In 1856 the War Department appointed the South Kensington Museum photographer Charles Thurston Thompson to teach photography to the Royal Engineers. On one expedition these soldier-photographers documented the border between the USA and Canada. From the crest of the Rockies westwards along the 49th Parallel to the coast, they painstakingly recorded everything that crossed their path, producing ‘one of the earliest significant bodies of photographs made in the Pacific Northwest’.

 

Samuel Bourne. 'Poplar Avenue, Srinuggur, Kashmir, from the end' 1864

 

Samuel Bourne
Poplar Avenue, Srinuggur, Kashmir, from the end
1864
Albumen print from wet collodion negative

 

 

In 1863 Samuel Bourne (1834-1912) arrived in India. He had left his job as a Nottingham bank clerk in order to develop his new career as a photographer. Bourne undertook three treks to Kashmir and the western Himalayas in 1863, 1864 and 1866, during which he photographed his surroundings extensively.

He began his second trip to India, during which this photograph was taken, in March 1864. It was to be a nine-month expedition through the Kashmir region. Throughout his travels Bourne wrote about his first impressions of the places he visited and these writings were published in the British Journal of Photography. Of his first impressions of the poplar avenues at Srinagar he noted: “The next day was devoted to an ascent of the Takht Hill and a stroll among the poplar avenues, of which, as I before stated, there are several about Srinugger. One of them is known as the “poplar avenue,” and is a mile long and quite straight. This is a fine walk and is almost perfect-hardly a tree is wanting, and the effect on looking down it is very striking. It is carpeted with grassy turf and a level grassy plain stretches on each side of it; at right angles to this are the three or four smaller avenues extending to the river, a walk down which when the grapes are ripe is by no means an enjoyable exercise, if one be a good climber. Running up, and entwining themselves among the poplars to a height of ninety or a hundred feet, are numbers of vines, whose tempting clusters hanging at this elevation only mock the wistful, watery eyes cast up to them.” Bourne, S, Narrative of a Photographic Trip to Kashmir (Cashmere) and the Adjacent Districts, The British Journal of Photography, 23 January 1867, p.38

Towards the end of the 1860s, Bourne established a partnership with fellow photographer and Englishman Charles Shepherd (fl.1858-1878) and in the space of a few years Bourne & Shepherd became the pre-eminent photographic firm in India. By the end of 1870 they had three branches, in Simla, Calcutta and Bombay.

Samuel Bourne’s ability to combine technical skill and artistic vision has led to him being recognised today as one of the most outstanding photographers working in India in the nineteenth century.

 

Alfred Stieglitz. 'Poplars, Lake George' 1932

 

Alfred Stieglitz
Poplars, Lake George
1932
Gelatin silver print
© Alfred Stieglitz, Gift of the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation

 

 

Lake George was the family estate where Stieglitz spent his summers, often with his wife, the painter Georgia O’Keefe. However, he took this photograph when O’Keefe was away in New Mexico. The loneliness of separation led Stieglitz to contemplate his own mortality, a theme reflected in this representation of poplars. Perhaps he identified with the trees’ dwindling vitality, as he photographed them repeatedly that summer, almost as one might check one’s pulse.

 

Ansel Adams. 'Aspens, Northern New Mexico' 1958

 

Ansel Adams
Aspens, Northern New Mexico
1958
Gelatin silver print
Given by Virginia and Ansel Adams

 

 

Ansel Adams is well-known for his portrayal of the mountain ranges, deserts, rivers and skies of the western United States. Adams was a passionate lover of the vast American wilderness and an active conservationist. He commented, “my approach to photography is based on my belief in the vigour and values of the world of nature – in the aspects of grandeur and of the minutiae all about us.” Having trained as a pianist before turning to photography in 1927, Adams often discussed his process of composition in musical terms.

 

Gerhard Stromberg. 'Coppice (King's Wood)' 1994

 

Gerhard Stromberg
Coppice (King’s Wood)
1994
C-type print
© Gerhard Stromberg

 

 

Gerhard Stromberg is one of the foremost contemporary photographers working with the subject of the British landscape. His images demonstrate how constructed this landscape can be. The subtle, large format prints (5 x 6 ft approx.) allow the viewer to contemplate details that reveal the photographers’ intimacy and familiarity with the subject. This piece is one of the most representative of his works.

A c-type print, such as Ektachrome, is a colour print in which the print material has at least three emulsion layers of light sensitive silver salts. Each layer is sensitised to a different primary colour – either red, blue or green – and so records different information about the colour make-up of the image. During printing, chemicals are added which form dyes of the appropriate colour in the emulsion layers. It is the most common type of colour photograph.

 

Mark Edwards. 'Rotting Apples' 2004

 

Mark Edwards
Rotting Apples
2004
From the series What Has Been Gathered Will Disperse
C-type print
Purchased through the Cecil Beaton Royalties Fund
© Mark Edwards

 

 

This image of apples lying rotten on a peacock blue carpet was taken in a family garden on a Norfolk nature reserve. The owners use pieces of old carpet, often donated by a neighbouring Buddhist retreat, as weed control. The decorative juxtaposition of the natural with the man-made moved Mark Edwards to record the carpet as it became integrated into the fabric of the garden. The photograph hints at ideas of contemplation and the passage of time.

 

Tokihiro Sato. 'Hakkoda #2' 2009

 

Tokihiro Sato
Hakkoda #2
2009
Gelatin silver print
Purchased with the support of the Photographs Acquisition Group
© Tokihiro Sato, Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

 

 

This photograph embodies Sato’s ephemeral imagination. It was made in the primeval Hakkoda forest, in northern Honshu on the main island of Japan. The image reveals a long fascination with the sculptural form of the Japanese Beech tree. Sato has said that to him ‘these trees suggest the ancient continental origins of the Japanese people while representing masculine strength and feminine sensitivity’. To make the picture, he exposed large-format film, during which he moved in front of the camera with a mirror reflecting the sun’s rays. The power of the sun momentarily ‘blinds’ the camera, creating an area that registers on film as an intense flare of light. Although we know that Sato is standing somewhere in the scene, we struggle to locate precisely where. While his traces are like pinpoint coordinates on a map, all we can do is estimate his continually moving location and follow the possible connecting trails. In this way, his photographs can be seen as enigmatic sculptural or physical performances. Knowing how Sato makes his images, we recognise there is not a multiplicity of presences indicated by the lights, but instead a multiplicity of one presence: the artist’s. His omnipresence might be a hint of some kind of divinity: the ever-present force of an invisible creator. Or it may simply be a record of the movement of one human force. However it is interpreted, human or divine, the light is a kind of mark that asserts both transcendence and specificity: “I was here,” even if, as in life, it is only momentarily.

 

Tal Shochat. 'Rimon (Pomegranate)' 2011

 

Tal Shochat
Rimon (Pomegranate)
2011
C-type print
© Tal Shochat

 

 

Shochat applies the conventions of studio portraiture to photographing trees. The first stage in her meticulous process is to identify the perfect specimen of a particular type of tree. When the fruit is at the height of maturity, she cleans the dust off the branches, leaves and fruit. Finally, Shochat photographs the tree, artificially lit and isolated against a black cloth background. The photographs present a view of nature that would never actually exist in a natural environment. The work highlights the tensions in photography between reality and artifice.

 

Awoiska van der Molen. '#274-5' 2011

 

Awoiska van der Molen
#274-5
2011
From the series Sequester
Oil based pigment ink on Japanese Gampi paper, presented in a handmade linen box
Purchased with the support of the Photographs Acquisition Group
© Awoiska van der Molen

 

 

Awoiska van der Molen (b.1972, Groningen, Netherlands) is a Dutch photographer based in Amsterdam. She studied architecture and photography at the Academy of Fine Arts Minerva in Groningen. In 2003 she graduated from the St. Joost Academy of Art and Design in the Netherlands with an MFA in Photographic Studies. Her work is borne out of an immersion in nature and is concerned with the untamed landscape and the sense of solitude that can be experienced in isolated locations. She works with analogue technology and explains that her pictures should be ‘understood as a metaphysical quest, a journey to the essence of being.’

For the project Sequester, van der Molen walked alone in the Canary Islands, seeking to ‘gain access to the stoic nature of the landscape’, as she describes it. She made long exposure black-and-white pictures of the dramatic volcanic terrain and dense forests at dawn and dusk. The exposures could be as long as thirty minutes and result in photographs of great intensity and ambiguity.

Van der Molen’s photographs go beyond the long tradition of black and white landscape photography, exemplified by photographers in the V&A collection such as Gustave Le Gray, Samuel Bourne, Ansel Adams, and Edward Weston. Rather than emulating the visual approaches of past masters, she seeks to portray the inner condition that uninhabited natural spaces engender.

Her interest in psychological states in relation to landscape can be aligned with that of numerous contemporary practitioners, including Chrystel Lebas and Nicholas Hughes, whose landscape photographs are also created using long exposures and convey a similar atmosphere of primeval power and solitude.

The collotype process is a screenless photomechanical process that allows high-quality prints from continuous-tone photographic negatives. Collotypes are comprised of many layers of ink and have a velvety matte appearance; the process has the power to produce the depth and detail of these works faithfully. Other examples of collotypes in the collection largely date from the 19th century and include works by Eadweard Muybridge and Julia Margaret Cameron. Once a widespread process, today, there are only two professional collotype studios remaining, both of which are in Kyoto.

In 2014, van der Molen received the Japanese Hariban Award, which gave her the opportunity to collaborate with the master printmakers of the Benrido Collotype Atelier in Kyoto to produce this set of 8 collotypes from the Sequester project.

 

Addendum

 

Carleton Watkins (U.S.A., 1829-1916) 'Yosemite Valley from the "Best General View"' 1866

 

Carleton Watkins (U.S.A., 1829-1916)
Yosemite Valley from the “Best General View”
1866
From the album Photographs of the Yosemite Valley
Albumen print
Lent by Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries

 

 

Carleton Watkins had the ability to photograph a subject from the viewpoint that allowed the most information to be revealed about its contents. In this image, he captured what he considered the best features of Yosemite Valley: Bridalveil Falls, Cathedral Rock, Half Dome, and El Capitan. By positioning the camera so that the base of the slender tree appears to grow from the bottom edge of the picture, Watkins composed the photograph so that the canyon rim and the open space beyond it seem to intersect. Although he sacrificed the top of the tree, he was able to place the miniaturised Yosemite Falls at the visual centre of the picture. To alleviate the monotony of an empty sky, he added the clouds from a second negative. This image was taken while Watkins was working for the California Geological Survey. His two thousand pounds of equipment for the expedition, which included enough glass for over a hundred negatives, required a train of six mules. (Text from the J. Paul Getty Museum website)

 

Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897-1966) 'Das Bäumchen [Sapling]' 1928

 

Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897-1966)
Das Bäumchen [The little tree]
1928
Galerie Berinson, Berlin
© Albert Renger-Patzsch / Archiv Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Zülpich / ADAGP, Paris 2017

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) 'Dancing Trees' 1922

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Dancing Trees
1922
Photograph, palladium print
Gift of Alfred Stieglitz
Photograph: © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Ansel Adams. 'Edward Weston, Carmel Highlands, California' 1945

 

Ansel Adams
Edward Weston, Carmel Highlands, California
1945
Gelatin silver print

 

Wynn Bullock (American, 1902-1975) 'Child on Forest Road' 1958, printed 1973

 

Wynn Bullock (American, 1902-1975)
Child on Forest Road
1958
Gelatin silver print
© Bullock Family Photography LLC. All rights reserved

 

 

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05
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass’ at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Exhibition dates: 10th April – 7th August, 2011

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Neodymium Reeds on Logs', de Young Museum, San Francisco, California, 2008

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Neodymium Reeds on Logs
2008
de Young Museum, San Francisco, California
Photo by Teresa Nouri Rishel
© 2008 Chihuly Studio

 

 

“The way I paint or draw, I don’t think about it very much. If I’m thinking about it, that kind of means that I don’t know what to do. If I start thinking, ‘I want to draw, now what can I draw?’ and I’m not inspired – because that can happen very easily – then they start to get mundane. On the other hand, if I start making drawings that I know how to do already, and if I can go fast enough, they start to get really good.”

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Dale Chihuly

 

 

I love contemporary glass and Dale Chihuly is one of my favourite artists in the world. The Persian ceiling is breathtaking – organic and pulsating like the most outrageously coloured jellyfish floating over your head; the Ikebana boat, the Mille Fiori pitch perfect – a riot of colour and form, playing with ideas and the chandeliers, the chandeliers – wow! Then to do something as sensitive and restrained as the Tabac basket or the beautiful Neodymium Reeds on Logs. This is the full package, bravo.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Ikebana Boat' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 
Ikebana Boat
2011
Blown glass, boat hull
5 X 17 X 7′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Mille Fiori' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Mille Fiori
2011
Blown Glass
9½ X 56 X 12′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Persian Ceiling' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Persian Ceiling
2011
Blown glass
15 X 28′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

A magical wonderland to delight Alice herself unfolds in Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), from April 10 through August 7, 2011. This exhibition presents new and early works created over the last four decades by Dale Chihuly, one of the world’s foremost artists working in glass. Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass features 12 boldly hued installations. Nine of these glass artworks are on view in the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Gallery, which serves as the main stage for the exhibition. Three additional installations are displayed within and outside of the Museum’s soaring, glass-enclosed Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard, including the 42-foot-tall Lime Green Icicle Tower. The exhibition is organised by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in cooperation with Dale Chihuly. It is supported by Highland Street Foundation. The media sponsors are The Boston Phoenix and WFNX Radio Network.

“Dale Chihuly is an American original, a master artist and craftsman who brings a truly magical touch to the fragile, yet malleable medium of glass, and who embodies the message: art is for everyone,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “Visitors to the exhibition will be surprised and delighted by his dazzling installations, which create a kaleidoscopic world full of colour and light. This exhibition gives us the wonderful opportunity to showcase the full range and grand scale of his art.”

 

First Installation in the New Shapiro Family Courtyard

The MFA continues the celebration of the recently opened Art of the Americas Wing and Shapiro Family Courtyard with Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass, showcasing the artwork of one of the most innovative and beloved American artists of our time. The show was conceived two years ago when Chihuly visited the Museum while the courtyard was still under construction, and marks the first time that exhibition-related works are on view in the courtyard. Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass was designed by Chihuly specifically for the Museum site. Works created in the Chihuly Studio hot shop in Seattle, Washington, incorporating thousands of individual pieces of hand-blown glass, were sent to Boston in six 53-foot containers. The 12 installations were assembled on site at the MFA during a three-week period in March. During this time, visitors to the MFA were able to watch a team from Chihuly Studio install the monumental glass artworks in the courtyard and surrounding gardens…

Works created specifically for Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass, such as the dramatic Lime Green Icicle Tower, have transformed the Shapiro Family Courtyard. Measuring 42-feet high and weighing approximately 10,000 pounds, the sculpture’s 2,342 glass elements catch the light flooding into the glass-enclosed space. Also in the courtyard, along the colonnade of the Museum’s historic interior façade, is the newly created Boathouse Neon II – an expansive profusion of red, yellow, and orange – spanning 98 feet. Outside, along the courtyard’s glass walls, Amber Cattails extend the length of the northern-landscaped area as though planted in their natural environment.

“Perhaps the greatest artist in American glass since Louis Comfort Tiffany, Dale Chihuly is one of the central figures in the contemporary studio glass movement. This exhibition will give our visitors a look at his extraordinary career – the creation of enchanting environments that, through the manipulation of light and colour, both delight the eye and challenge our perception of space,” said Gerald W.R. Ward, the Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, who organised the exhibition.

 

Nine Unique Installations in the New Gund Gallery

The exhibition continues below the courtyard, where nine unique Chihuly installations (including both newly made and early works) are on view in the Gund Gallery for special exhibitions. Outside of the gallery, a glistening, 30′ long and 15′ tall Persian Wall composed of intricately detailed rondels – flower-like shapes in yellows, reds, and oranges – offer an enchanting welcome to visitors. Inside the gallery, Scarlet Icicle Chandelier, measuring 6’ high, sets the stage for the bold creations that lie beyond, such as Ikebana Boat, a 17′-long, newly made composition featuring a weathered wooden rowboat filled with brightly colored, seemingly alien glass forms. Chihuly’s Ikebana series, which alludes to Japanese flower arrangements, is featured in a nearby room, where 5′-to-6′-tall silvered vessels hold inventive floral “stems”. Also on view in the room is an assortment of Venetians – silvered blown glass sculptures originally conceived by Chihuly after seeing Venetian Art Deco glass. Chihuly Drawings seen in this space serve as complement and inspiration for the glass Venetian works. The nearby Northwest Room evokes the artist’s native Pacific Northwest environment and the Native American influence on his work. It features an assemblage of ethereal Baskets inspired by Native American baskets, as well as displays of 75 colourful trade blankets and a variety of woven baskets from the artist’s own extensive collection.

Adjacent to this installation is a darkened space showcasing Mille Fiori (Italian for “a thousand flowers”), measuring 58′ long and 11′ tall and presented on a 12′-wide raised platform. This breathtaking work of art is one of the artist’s largest installations, a combination of many of the colourful, inventive shapes found in Chihuly’s other creations – from exotic Cattails and tall Reeds, to giant glass Niijima Floats and ribbon-like Herons – brilliantly coloured in shades of yellow, red, lavender, green, orange, and blue. Persian Ceiling, a dazzling 15′ by 25′ array of vibrant and beautifully articulated shapes encased and suspended from the ceiling, is featured in the adjacent gallery. This eruption of colour continues in the Chandelier Room, featuring six dramatic Chandeliers hanging at different heights from the 16′-high Gund Gallery ceiling. Included are newly created works, the 12′-tall Silvered Chrysalis Tiered Chandelier and Iris Yellow Frog Foot Chandelier, as well as the spectacular Chiostro di Sant’Apollonia Chandelier and three other works: Palazzo di Loredana Balboni Chandelier, Orange Hornet and Eelgrass Chandelier, and Onyx and Caramel Chandelier. The final exhibition space showcases luminescent Neodymium Reeds, a large-scale installation composed of birch logs and elegant glass Reeds in shades of lavender.

Press release from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Persian Ceiling' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Persian Ceiling
2011
Blown glass
15 X 28′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved.
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Persian Wall' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Persian Wall 
2011
Blown glass
15 X 30′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Palazzo di Loredana Balboni Chandelier' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Palazzo di Loredana Balboni Chandelier
2011
Blown glass, steel
9 X 7 X 7′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Chiostro di Sant'Apollonia Chandelier' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 
Chiostro di Sant’Apollonia Chandelier
2011
Blown glass, steel
10 X 7 X 9′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Tabac Basket' 2008

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Tabac Basket
Photo by Teresa Nouri Rishel
© 2008 Chihuly Studio

 

 

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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

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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.

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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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