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Finding Home in Havana

If you have to travel halfway across the world to make an interesting picture, you’re probably not an artist. That’s what I tell people who show me their photographs of sweet-faced children, careworn workers, and colorfully dressed celebrants from some other region, some other culture. It’s easy enough to capture the surface differences between people and their ways of life and it’s easy enough to project meaning onto them based on our own perceptions, assumptions, or cravings. But it is difficult indeed to use the camera to show what’s underneath that surface of difference, difficult to use it to show something that feels more true about the subject than about the viewer, difficult to locate something individual that is also shared. Maybe it is only possible to reveal something that is true for both the subject and the viewer, something we have in common about being human.

Photographing in Havana on several visits, Patricia Galagan was duly seduced by the city’s visual appeal, a feature that has made it a popular destination for American photographers in recent decades. Her street views show the Cuban capital’s extraordinary juxtapositions of opulence and decay, exuberance and restraint, searing light and suggestive shadows. Her photographs of vendors begin to explore what makes this city and its residents tick, and her shots of interior spaces search still deeper into the spirit of this long-sheltered place. Adding to this multi-part portrait of Havana is Galagan’s series Objects of Desire, in which the artist relinquishes her role as an observer and more actively engages with her subjects.

To create this group of portraits, the artist invited individuals to be photographed in their familiar surroundings and to include something of personal significance in the photograph. Like the attributes of saints – St. Francis and his birds, St. Isidore and his plow – our earthly possessions are markers for who we are, the visible manifestations of what is most cherished. Don’t we all have treasures that light up our world because of what they represent? Whatever our daily circumstances, these objects are reliquaries for our memories and our dreams, offering tangible evidence of our distinctiveness and thereby binding us together in the commonality of our desire to be special.

By having her subjects choose what to display, the artist opens up a channel for communication and understanding, a pathway of connection between her and them, between them and us. One possible cultural difference that readily emerges in the portraits is that many of the participants selected another person or animal to be in the picture, not an object. And several of the objects chosen are pictures of people. Is it the result of Galagan’s subjects having little in the way of material possessions? Is the result of a culture that values family and personal relationships more deeply than material goods? Any answer I come up with is laden with my own personal and cultural biases. Yet the images resonate with a powerful sense of attachment and connection that I recognize. I don’t know these people or their lives but I know these feelings.

My ancestors, my faith, my occupation, my neighborhood, my collection, my companions; by sharing these precious things I show you who I am and who I want to be. We are here for just a while and we want it to mean something. The steps I walk to the kitchen, my love for you, the trust of a child, all these things have changed the world a little bit, all these things have mattered, regardless of what else is going on in the world. In Havana and in Portland and in Santa Fe, these are the things that make a life for all of us. And in that case, it’s okay to go all the way to Cuba to remind us that the most important objects of desire are right here at home.

Katherine Ware, Curator of Photography
New Mexico Museum of Art
April 2014

Spotlight: 2013 Pacific NW Photography Viewing Drawers (round 7)

Well, with 68 different Pacific Northwest photographers represented in the Blue Sky 2013 Photography Viewing Drawers, and just under a week until Thanksgiving, we wrap up our weekly DRAWERS SPOTLIGHT with this final peek. Rounds onetwothreefour and five, and six can be found by clicking here.

ALL of the prints in the Drawers are for sale! Come in to the gallery 12-5pm, Tuesday- Sunday, and take a closer look. These photos represent a wide range of subjects, themes, and price-points — you’re likely to find the perfect holiday gift for your favorite photographer!

Email Amanda at amandaclem@blueskygallery.org or call (503) 225-0210 to inquire about prices and availability.

What are the Drawers? Blue Sky established the Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers program in 2007 to feature a juried, public archive of original prints by contemporary photographers based in the region. Our Drawers program has quickly become a favorite aspect of Blue Sky’s ongoing programming, available to approximately 25,000 visitors annually. For 2012—to coincide with the newly inaugurated Portland Photo Month (every April)—Blue Sky expanded the geographic scope of the Drawers program to include photographers from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, and Alaska.

. . .

Jonathan Taylor, Seattle, WA

Artist Statement: I am submitting these photographs as a photographer, print-maker, sculptor, architect and someone who is very interested in design in general. I could no more be classified as a photographer than a father or a painter. I happen to enjoy all forms or art and what I am submitting are images of work that are mostly silver based chemically modified outputs with attachments made by mechanically sewing developed pieces to sensitized paper then exposing that paper to another image then pouring developer on the paper and sometimes stopping the chemical process after several pours of developer. All work is done with commercially available professional chemicals and Ilford papers in an archival regiment of developing and washing.

From: $150 – $650

~

Michael Van Buskirk, Portland OR

Artist Statement: For me, photography finds its soul in the final print, an authentic and archival object to see, to hold, to frame and to hang. Combining technologies that bridge photographic practices from the 19th into the 21st century, I prepare and digitally print large-scale negatives from digital files. I then contact print under ultraviolet light exclusively in the noble metals, platinum and palladium, hand-coated onto heavyweight, 100% cotton rag watercolor paper. Using digital negatives makes readily available both recent digital camera images as well as those from older film work. In addition, adjusting the image digitally permits a more predictable linear translation of the multitudinous shades of gray from the original subject to the final print. Preparing negatives digitally also allows incremental adjustments of images that fully exploit the renowned tonal breadth of the platinum/palladium printing process. I believe that the handcrafting of each print individually melds the most basic elements of art and science into a uniquely tendered archival photograph. I am not the first photographer to aspire to photograph the Gaspé. Paul Strand’s work from the 1920’s continues to influence contemporary photographers. Despite the relentless alterations of these landscapes by the advance of time, strong visual echoes of Strand’s period remain. Jutting into the Gulf of St Lawrence and comprising the southern mouth of the St. Lawrence River, the Gaspé’s raw coastal beauty continues to inspire. Lying 500 miles east of Boston, the Gaspé may best be approached from its most elemental aspect, the sea. Sailing from Gloucester, I captured images depicting ancient and modern landmarks of the northeastern shore with emphasis upon its rocky coast, Percé Rock and its giant seabirds, the northern gannets.

From: $300

~

Terri Warpinski, Eugene, OR

 Artist Statement: In 1995 I began crossing the US-Mexico regularly over a period of three years while working on another project. A few years later I was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Israel at a time that coincided with the outbreak of the 2nd Intifada. These two distinct experiences folded together in the spring of 2009 – the same year that commemorated the 20th anniversary of the felling of the Berlin Wall – when I returned once again to the US- Mexico border region to live and work to witness first hand the dramatic changes to that landscape with the installation of the new border fence. This project examines the complex relationships between personal, cultural and natural histories. Through constructs of time, and in landscape as trace of socio-cultural interaction, the project is informed by the decadal changes in these varying geographies, a period of time that saw the construction of physical barriers between states, and their accompanying expressions of power. In photographing landscapes that have been repurposed to articulate division – familiar and foreign, contemporary and historic – this project resists a metaphoric collapse in favor of a parallel reading. With images from present-day Berlin functioning as both prologue and epilogue, the combined works present differing constructions of subjectivity in relation to borders and bordering.

From: $1,500

~

Kevin Wildermuth, Seattle, WA

Artist Statement: Above— The sky is forever associated with heaven, rendered in blues – and whites and grays – but always in the mind’s eye blue, the color of purity and calmness. Ethereal, eternal, sublime, it is a vast abstract painting and mood ring, constantly changing, constantly out of reach. Though we pierce it with our terrestrial-born inventions, or taint it with our emissions, the sky remains a creation of nature, dependably renewing itself, a reminder of purity and the promise of bliss. Below— At ground level is all the detritus of mankind, at rest and yet on the move. Pickup trucks roam the streets, traveling bins for the broken and the useless, displaying the folly, the waste and the chaos of our material world. Old rubber gloves, fifty year old TV trays, bent folding chairs, a dairy crate full of rusty motor scooter mufflers – all destined to traverse from place to place, accompanied by grass clippings, leftover bricks, and spent paper cups, going nowhere. The sky too, of course, is going nowhere. And in other ways these two disparate worlds are linked. The careful observer will notice that the one world often mirrors the other in some way, subtle or obvious. The tarps in a pickup truck bed arrange themselves in the shape of clouds, while the distribution of forgotten objects in the truck-bed echoes the arrangement of clouds above it. Other alignments are more abstract. A cloud formation continues the gesture suggested by a load of cut branch-wood and the dark scene of dejected black rubber boots is mocked by an angry charcoal cloud in a swirl of more carefree cohorts. Here the connections between the heavenly and the earthbound are made explicit – and offered as a curiosity and manifesto to guide others in their own observations.

From: $700

~

David Wyatt, Kennewick, WA

Artist Statement: A resident of the Tri-Cities for 23 years, and pilot for over 25 years, I combine two of my passions – flying and photography – to bring new perspectives to otherwise familiar places. Aerial perspectives! Artistic aerial photography was a natural extension of my enjoyment of flying in a small airplane, typically in the early morning hours. Capturing the aerial perspective during the golden hour often means a pre-flight in the dark and lifting off the runway at dawn’s early light. I enjoy capturing aerial artistic views of the Mid-Columbia, including subjects like Hanford history, Ice Age Flood Geology, Columbia and Snake Rivers, and the Columbia River Gorge.

From: $180

~

Carol Yarrow, Portland, OR

Artist Statement: Working with these photographs brings back memories of smells; the wet earth, copal incense, animals, cooking, fruit, wet intestines in the slaughterhouse. I can close my eyes and hear the Mayans softly chanting the names of their ancestors in ceremonial incantations. The Mayan Indians, much like the North American Indians, are a captive culture within the dominant Latino structure of Guatemala. They have been subject to the same kind of genocide and racism that runs throughout our own history. The Mayan shamanistic, animist religion was susceptible to the influence of Catholicism because of the similar shared rituals; the burning of incense, alcohol and Coca Cola was used for Christian “holy water”, and also fasting as a ritual. Although the Mayans use the Catholic churches for many of their ceremonies, one gets the impression the Catholicism is only a thin veneer for a culture struggling to survive

From: $400

~

Kristin Zabawa, Portland, OR

Artist Statement: My artistic process with animal photography contains a powerful and meditative link with animal spirit. They are my collaborators as vibrant and sentient beings. I am motivated to explore more deeply into this meditative practice of connection with all spirit, as it coaxes and reveals the image. What happens to the animal and myself while we create these images together? My time with the ponies is a meditation on giving up the illusion of control, and the dissolution of boundaries: visual, temporal, and cerebral. I hope to inspire this feeling in others. This is the core of what motivates me as an artist.

From: $100

~

That’s all for our 2013 Pacific Viewing Drawers SPOTLIGHT. Thank you for following along!

We hope to see you at Blue Sky soon.

Wishing you the happiest holidays,

Amanda

Membership & Gallery Manager

Spotlight: 2013 Pacific NW Photography Viewing Drawers (round 6)

Why, hello there! Welcome to Round 6 of our  2013 Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers Spotlight.

Blue Sky established the Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers program in 2007 to feature a juried, public archive of original prints by contemporary photographers based in the region. Our Drawers program has quickly become a favorite aspect of Blue Sky’s ongoing programming, available to approximately 25,000 visitors annually. For 2012—to coincide with the newly inaugurated Portland Photo Month (every April)—Blue Sky expanded the geographic scope of the Drawers program to include photographers from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, and Alaska.

We’ll continue to preview 10 Drawers artists every week through Thanksgiving (aka: the beginning of holiday gift shopping season). Yes, all the prints in the Drawers are for sale! Email Amanda Clem at amandaclem@blueskygallery.org or call (503) 225-0210 to inquire about prices and availability. Better yet, come to the gallery and take some time to look at the prints in person.

Review rounds onetwothreefour and five by clicking through. And now…this week’s 10 artists are…

Jenny Riffle, Seattle WA

Artist Statement: “Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting” —“There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy’s life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.” -Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Riley grew up in rural eastern Washington. As a child he read Mark Twain’s stories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and decided he wanted to be like those mythical boys. He wanted a life full of treasure and adventure. Riley started smoking a corncob pipe, wearing a straw hat and even went to school barefoot until he was told not to. He got his first metal detector when he was eleven and to this day he continues to seek treasure in the dirt, in sandy beaches or even looking through a handful of change for wheat pennies and real silver. In my project, Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting, I have been following Riley out on his hunts and photographing the objects he collects. I explore the line between documentary and fantasy as I look at the objects he finds, what drives him to continue and the mythology and history of the treasure-hunting persona. In Scavenger I don’t try to reveal Riley’s essence as a traditional portrait would, but build upon it to create a more complicated presence. I express my romantic view of his life and his treasure-hunting obsession and choose not to show his daily activities outside of that. By only showing one side of his personality I create a larger than life character. I photograph him in Twain’s spirit, as a mythical adventurer, like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. The objects Riley collects are an escape into this mythology, a fantasy world full of possibilities. Riley finds little monetary reward for treasure hunting since most of his day is spent digging up worthless pull-tabs and random scraps of metal, nevertheless he spends all his free time scavenging. The thrill of the hunt and the spirit of adventure are all he needs to keep going.

From: $1,000

~

Jim RiswoldPortland, OR

Artist Statement: I recently spent more than my fair share of days in the ICU at OHSU recovering from cancer surgery. I cheered myself up by reading about the carnage of World War One, The War to End All Wars. I learned July 1, 1916 was the first day of the Battle of the Somme. That day is the bloodiest day in Britain’s history. The British Army suffers 57,470 casualties, including 19,420 dead. Most of those casualties came in the first hour of the battle. This is what happens when old generals and old tactics send young men charging unprotected into modern weapons, such as entrenched machine guns and relentless artillery fire. I learned 20,000,000 horses died during World War One. So did a whole bunch of cows, camels, chickens, pigs and sheep. Apparently, animals fare just as bad, if not worse, as young men against machine guns. I learned about the disillusionment of the common soldier. On March 3, 1916, during the Battle of Verdun, German Expressionist painter Franz Marc wrote, “For days I have seen nothing but the most terrible things that can be painted from a human mind.” The next day he was dead. We’ve learned to make jokes about the French Army. Here’s one: What do you call 100,000 Frenchmen with their hands up? The French Army. I learned 1,397,800 French soldiers died and 4,266,000 were wounded in World War One. There is a good reason the French are war adverse. I learned The War to End All Wars Didn’t End All Wars. So, I did an art show about it. At the same time, I took some self-portraits of my post-surgery battered body. They are the start of my next show called A Big Bowl of Cancer scheduled for October 2013.

From: $850 – $2,500

~

Rich Rollins, Portland, OR

Artist Statement: “Word From the Street” —Each of us searches for and hopefully finds a way of expressing our selves. In certain moments of our lives we are compelled to make a declaration out of desperation. At other times a statement comes out of our deeply felt belief system about the personal, societal or global world we live in and are affected by. Sometimes we simply wish to express harmony or dissonance with the world that surrounds us. There are people who keep their voice quietly housed in a personal journal, incorporate it into a piece of writing, or speak it into existence. These photographs are born out of the expressions of people who put their voice out into the world visually because they want it to be seen, encountered, and engaged. Their statements ask questions for us to consider, questions each of us may answer and wonder about in our own way, never truly knowing who created them or why.

From: $350

~

Paul Romaniuk, Victoria, BC Canada

Artist Statement: “While they do not preach, have no overt polemic, nor are even factually accurate, their redeeming grace is that they have allowed air, sunlight, rain and decay to recover the spirit of the place” Jonathan Green from his introduction to “Primal Images” by Jerry Burchfield. Taxonomy is an ongoing project of contemporary portraits of plants created using the lumen photogram method pioneered by Jerry Burchfield in the late 1990s. Each image is formed from the direct interaction of plant with photographic paper during exposure to sunlight. Through this process I am creating one-of-a-kind prints with ambiguities that evoke a sense of beauty, mystery and loss. I was inspired to make lumen prints after reading “Primal Images”, the book of lumen prints Jerry Burchfield made in the Amazon. Although I am a trained scientist, I was attracted by the idea of using the method to document plants from our garden in the intuitive, experiential way I used as a child learning about the natural world. I was also attracted by the ability of the process to transform the conventional beauty that we associate with plants by revealing the hidden beauty within them. This hidden beauty is composed of translucent shapes, remnants of the plant material embedded in the photographic paper, and the combination of muted and intense colors. Each print is like a fossil in rock that can only hint at the nature of the original object. The unpredictable outcome of the process makes it difficult to classify these artifacts, thus the taxonomy is incomplete and remains open for further investigation.

From: $500 – $900

~

Michael Sell, La Grande, OR

 

Artist Statement: The members of the online forum UFCK.org, one of the many community forums on the Internet, are mostly strangers. I had never met them, but I know of them. A Meme of One: The UFCK Family is a collection of photographs that depict the UFCK cohort in both fictional and real forms. This work addresses issues such as living our lives in public forums, privacy, how the Internet helps the discourse of fictional narrative, and how those of us who choose to interact with others in an online forum do so anonymously. The photographs tell the story of a community connected through distance and how the individual members are pieces in a larger puzzle. Though I had not met any of these subjects before photographing them, the camaraderie and familiarity of these personalities is palpable through the intimacy of the photographs. As memes, the members of the UFCK community are not different from the members of other Internet forums. Their language, interests, and behaviors are quirky and exceptional in their simplicity and anonymity. Yet this is only one element of what makes them semi-famous as a subculture to those who know them. As peers, posting online, commenting, and creating our fictional selves, we participate in the online dialogue, acting in the same way. As disparate as we may be, we are, in the end, members of the same family.

From: $150

~

Brandon Sorg, Portland, OR

Artist Statement: Since moving to Portland four years ago, I have documented the things that visually set the city apart from other places I have lived. I regularly spend time walking its streets, photographing scenes in the landscape that, in my mind, compose Portland. I avoid the obvious clichés that are so often associated with this city, and instead focus on documenting the (usually more subtle) characteristics that repeat. Repetitions such as the lushness created by the rain, discarded or postponed adventures sitting in wait on the in the form of RVs, Volkswagen vans, or old cars, optimism and disappointment in the same shop window, coincidence and the strange, good intentions and hope, the many and varied depictions of Mt. Hood, or houses and objects consumed by plant growth… to outline a few. This work is about these repetitions that I like to believe illustrate, symbolize, and constitute Portland.

From: $200

~

Andrew Stanbridge, Portland, OR

Artist Statement: In November of 2012 I traveled to the Turkey/Syria border town of Kilis to document the Syrian refugees crossing into Turkey, escaping the brutal civil war that has consumed the country. At the border I found that crossing into rebel (Free Syria Army or FSA) controlled areas of the country was quite easy, so I decided to go and spend time with the FSA fighters and witness the war torn landscape for myself. Rather than focusing on the blood and bang-bang street battles I decided to instead create quite portraits of the scarred towns and individuals involved in the war in order to give context to the everyday horrors reported by the mainstream media. This war is far from over and even when these two sides find resolution there is a long road of smaller battles to be fought. I plan on returning to Syria regularly and continuing this project as the various histories evolve.

From: $500
~

Travis Stanton, Portland, OR

Artist Statement: This project is about colliding with strangers and bringing them into a tangible perspective shift. I approach any person-of-interest from any walk of life and bring a small, unexpected interruption to their day. Initially the people are unsure of my intentions, this is when I place a world-bending lens between our faces. With this movement my English is no longer heard. Through this lens eyes light up and foreheads wrinkle with tiny sparks of confusion and curiosity. A different part of the brain obtains control of the human without effort, and imagination takes the wheel. They raise their hands like a child would toward the intriguing glass as I place it into their hands. Their eyes become glued to the view through the sphere at the astonishing new perspective within. I watch as they look at the sky, their hands, at the street and at me. I make faces at them and they make faces at me. With this lens in hand, they can abandon all normal adult social behavior and a non-language playtime can occur. This project is about the celebration of the human and the human reaction. It is a project of joy and the simple shifting in objectivity both within the glass and within the mind. It is a peephole for me to see into people. It is a peephole for people to see themselves and step into a unique and unscheduled moment. This is a project I intend to continue throughout my life. I have conducted this with hundreds of people to date. Each sliver of moment tells a little bit about the person, from the way they hold the lens, to the zany or concentrated face they put forward. We can see a very tangible, even if only temporary change, pushing the mind mental arena of lively fun. With each interaction the mind is moved, a memory is created, a moment is shared, and a dramatically into the photo captures the event – thus the idea is shared with you…

From: $350

~

Elizabeth Stone, Greenough, MT

Artist Statement: “Death By Drowning, Lucy’s Water Bowl” — I have an intense fear of moths. I’m not sure where it came from. Perhaps it was the “Bedtime for Frances” book my mom read to me as a young kid. Frances is a badger and is trying to go to sleep. She gets frightened by a moth climbing against her bedroom window. I started this project a couple of years ago. My dog Lucy has a big stainless steel water bowl outside. One day I found a moth had drowned. It was stunningly beautiful in its death. As the summer progressed more little lives drowned in the bowl. I photographed them and returned to the water bowl almost every morning to memorialize whatever creatures had lost their lives while I was sleeping. The project continues each summer. My biggest successes are when I can scoop a life, not yet lost, from the water and place it on the rocks in the sun. My hopes are simple, to elevate these small slices of reality that surround me and make them subjects for pause and reflection.

From: $450

~

Mary Stroud, Barrow, AK

 

Artist Statement: “Chrysaora melanaster: the Arctic Sea Nettle” — Too often people see only what is obvious in their surroundings. While beauty can certainly be found in the wild, minimalist expanse of the tundra and beaches of the Alaskan arctic, the majority of what exists is small and too easily goes unnoticed. The arctic sea nettle is a large jellyfish that lives in the waters of the Arctic Ocean. In the early months of summer as the sea ice begins its yearly retreat, these jellyfish can often be found dead or dying on the beaches around Barrow, AK. At first one might notice them only as a precaution or simply because their presence on the brown, gravely shoreline seems out of place. If observed closely, however, they transcend the ordinary and become extraordinary with an inner illumination and grace of movement that belies their fate. These photographs share the results of a close observation of the uncommon beauty of these common arctic creatures. Nature is at its most beautiful and most rewarding when we choose to see it beyond the obvious.

From: $175 – $225

~

Thank you for reading! As always, we invite you to come look through the Drawers to see the rest of the images we have from these photographers from noon to 5pm, Tuesday through Sunday.

 

Yours,

Amanda

Membership & Gallery Manager

 

 

 

You Shop, We Smile :)

Great news, friends and fans of Blue Sky! You can now support us every time you make an online purchase at smile.amazon.com.

Blue Sky Gallery/OCPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you shop online with Amazon, the company will now donate 0.5% of the purchase price to charity. Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their detail pages.

How do you select Blue Sky to receive a portion of your purchase? Simply choose Blue Sky by our registered nonprofit name: Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, Inc.

It’s easy. Click on the image above or follow this link: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/51-0185021

The holidays are coming; what are you waiting for? Start shopping and give a little gift to Blue Sky, too.

(Of course, you don’t need to make a purchase to support what we do; we’re happy to take a donation from you any day at blueskygallery.org!)

Spotlight: 2013 Pacific NW Photography Viewing Drawers (round 5)

Hello, Blue Sky Blog Readers, Happy November!

Can you believe we’re already halfway through our  2013 Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers SPOTLIGHT (review rounds one, two, three, and four) — have you been keeping track of your favorites?

We’ll continue to preview 10 Drawers artists every week through Thanksgiving (aka: the beginning of holiday gift shopping season). Yes, all the prints in the Drawers are for sale! Email Amanda Clem at amandaclem@blueskygallery.org or call (503) 225-0210 to inquire about prices and availability. Better yet, come to the gallery and take some time to look at the prints in person.

Blue Sky established the Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers program in 2007 to feature a juried, public archive of original prints by contemporary photographers based in the region. Our Drawers program has quickly become a favorite aspect of Blue Sky’s ongoing programming, available to approximately 25,000 visitors annually. For 2012—to coincide with the newly inaugurated Portland Photo Month (every April)—Blue Sky expanded the geographic scope of the Drawers program to include photographers from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, and Alaska.

This week, let’s take a peek at:

Stuart McCall, Delta, British Columbia, Canada

Artist Statement: Discontinuous Spectrums — This series of photographs examines the peculiar, unworldly lighting currently favored for industrial and security purposes. Lighting selected strictly for the purpose of providing maximum illumination at the lowest cost. The images show the exteriors of mostly industrial locations, photographed at night or at dusk. Sometimes the entire night sky is illuminated by light spill. These lights, known as discontinuous spectrum sources, produce light by the reaction of electrical energy passing through particular gasses. The end product, a type of illumination that does not occur naturally in this world, creates a type of light in which entire sections of the visual spectrum are missing. Sodium Vapor lacks blues and greens; Metal Halide is lacking much of the red spectrum, etc. The photographs were created primarily using digital imaging equipment, although the colors and compositions have not been manipulated except for minor adjustments that would normally be conducted in the conventional chemical based photographic process.

From $1,500

~

Robbie McClaran, Portland, OR

 

Artist Statement: Submitted images are a selection from an ongoing personal documentary project on the American heartland. I use the term personal documentary, as the project serves as a visual diary of my interactions with the people and landscape I discover. My aim is to portray moments of grace and beauty found along back streets unseen by most travelers and that collectively these photographs will tell a story of contemporary America at a time of great upheaval and change.

From $400

~

George Olson, Beaverton, OR

Artist Statement: I’ve been fascinated by, and drawn to France since I was a teenager, but only when I was an adult did I travel there with a camera. Then, I felt like I had to make up for lost time, surrounded as I was by buildings older than anything I’d ever seen, people I admired, but struggled to understand, and customs and even cars all new to me. My first trip was for an art workshop, but I shot 40 rolls of Tri-X with one Leica, and I knew my heart was won over. After that, I was drawn back again and again to one small town in Provence called Biot, where I came to know all the winding cobbled streets, and many of the people. I became comfortable there, learned the language, and quietly observed their world. Other trips were to Paris, either by myself, or staying with a French friend. Until 2002, I’d never been to France in the spring or summer, but I found the fall and winter months beautiful and challenging. One chilly day, I walked and zigzagged every bridge over the Seine, which I bet few Parisians have done. I’m struck by how much some of the pictures look as if they are from another era – change in France is not as dramatic as it is in the U. S. The French hold to tradition, ancient crafts, and see the old as something to be maintained not replaced. A Christmas picture with a 1930’s car is normal. An elderly woman walking past a castle is “today.” Faded window lettering still announces a teashop. And yet, they’re all from my many experiences in the past 30 years. It seems natural to have captured these experiences in black and white. To me it enhances the timelessness, the history, the style, and even the peculiarities of France.

From $200

~

Robert Pallesen, Portland, OR

Artist Statement: I am interested in what photographs say about us and our culture and the uncertain territories between cities and towns. I photograph areas where the industrial, commercial and residential border one another. Most of the images were created close to my home in Portland. The images investigate the transient nature of the landscape and our relationship with it.

From $150

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Stepanka Peterka, Portland, OR

 

Artist Statement: Relating to an Orbit — It is believed that at approximately 28-30 years of age, a person experiences an astrological phenomenon known as Saturn Return. As a distant planet, Saturn takes approximately 2.5 years to traverse one sign and 29 years to complete a cycle around the sun and entire zodiac, returning to the same position it occupied at a person’s birth, constituting a full orbit. This cyclical phase of ‘return’ is ostensibly marked by intensity, transformation, and chronological stress: the process of self-discovery and a sense of seizing truth. At 29 and affected by some incredible impulse of self-inquiry, I am inspired to explore some of the obscure ideas behind the alleged Saturn Return through the prism of art. A key concept held by astrologers is that a person crosses over a major threshold and enters a new stage of life, which involves evaluating foundations of self-awareness. A personal foundation of self-awareness is former Czechoslovakia, where I was absorbed for much of my life because of a Czech father. By coinciding intervals, or ‘returns’ to Czech Republic, with Saturn returning in my constellation, this ongoing work contemplates the past as a gateway to the present moment. It regards our sensitivity arise from a desire to establish meaning for the Self. Under the influence, it is ultimately an experience of time, archetypes and inspiration to belief systems that deeply subjective.

From $500

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Alexis Pike, Bozeman, MT

 

Artist Statement: This body of work is inspired by the book We Sagebrush Folks, a memoir written by Annie Pike Greenwood, detailing her time spent in an early Southern Idaho farming community from 1906-1928. The Greenwoods, along with other families, migrated to Idaho because of the allure of the Carey Act of 1894, a land grant program to encourage settlement of federally owned arid lands, with the aid of irrigation. The Carey Act thrived on promotional propaganda, suggesting that fields of sagebrush could magically be transformed into irrigated Edens; it was a farmer’s gold rush-enticing dreamers to move to wilderness regions. Greenwood’s book explores these dreams of cultivation, the hope of prosperity, and the difficult reality of trying to harness a landscape to suit the needs of the farmer. The book is an eclectic personal journey, calling on Greenwood’s experiences as a mother, wife, and educator. To illustrate my journey of being inspired by her book, I have used her text as my map. One hundred years later, I’ve been retracing Annie’s steps, creating a photographic survey of the Snake River Plain where We Sagebrush Folks are still trying to turn the desert into a promised land.

From $400

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David Pollock, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

 

Artist Statement: Fertile Geometry —I made these photographs between 2008 and 2010 in the farmlands of the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island. Farming is often viewed through the lens of nostalgia and romanticized as a lost way of life that was more connected to nature. The farm fields were a fruitful way for me to situate the human in nature because it is within this interface that questions arise regarding our place in the natural world. As much as the idea of wilderness implies no human presence, these anthropogenic landscapes are reminders of our inescapable and constant interaction with the natural world. What first attracted me to this landscape was the quality of deep open space enclosed by distant hills. This dimension, combined with the linear traces of farming and boundaries, form the visual framework that supports this series. The word Geometry is derived from ancient Greek meaning ‘to measure the earth’ and the earliest application of geometry was to partition land. My point of view with the field pictures was topographical and, like a map, these photographs are a precise representation of surface that is both a record and an abstraction. As the seasons came and went, I made pictures that for the most part, are representations of transitional states of farmland. It was often, as I stood in the silence of the fields, that I looked at the black earth and understood that this was the skin of the earth upon which I stood. From this viewpoint, I began to see the surface of this landscape and the traces of farm work as indices of the human actions, which shape the land for food production. These landscapes are concerned with concepts of consumption, transformation, regeneration and the elemental. However, these pictures are also a vantage point from which to consider our dependence upon fertile soil and to see farming as the foundation upon which our societies are built and sustained.

From $800

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Douglas Prior, Portland, OR

 

Artist Statement: Photography is an adventure full of many surprises. I embrace these surprises, which leads me down challenging paths. Investigating the layers of my photographs is like exploring an energy or spirit beyond the physical world. Shapes are imbued with meaning.

From $150

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Christopher RauschenbergPortland, OR

 

Artist Statement: These images make up part one of my series Museum. Part two is about the rooms the art is in and part three is about people interacting with the art in these rooms. Though I think the story deepens with the added layers of the rooms and people, the art itself is the soul of the experience and with just ten images it seems best to let the artworks tell their own stories. In these images I treat the people in the artworks as if they were living sentient beings. This approach echoes that of my recent series Hold, and is a natural outgrowth of my series of 500 re-photographs of Atget’s Paris. The statues in Atget’s photographs are alive in a way that the Parisians themselves are not, as they rush about too hurriedly to more than occasionally even register on his film. Atget was interested in mankind, but he saw our beauty and glory in the things we do that outlive us, rather than in the briefer magic of Cartier-Bresson and Lee Friedlander’s decisive moments. My work is somehow a mixture of Atget and Friedlander, as I am fascinated by these centuries-old fleeting gestures.

From $800

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Mark Reid, Portland, OR

 

Artist Statement: I am an artist who uses photographs as a tool for reproducing the beauty I find in the world. From an early age I carried a camera to record my experiences, and to share them with others. My photographic career has always revolved around a process of recording images as my experience expanded. It is a continuous evolutionary process that has brought me to the floral images I am creating today. In my neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, I recently found several hibiscus petals lying on the sidewalk. I took these small pieces of nature into my studio and made images of them. Isolating these images from their natural environment allowed me to focus on details of their beauty. With the success of the hibiscus petals I began to collect more natural specimens and isolate them in the controlled environment of my studio. I discovered that even though these specimens are only a small piece of the original plant our minds recreate the association with the original plant and its environment. Like the order of a landscaped city park, our minds are attracted to organization and familiarity of a known environment. In contrast, a natural forest may seem visually chaotic or overwhelming. Similarly, our minds are attracted to imagery that we can recognize and identify. We can create a story about the hibiscus petals from our past experiences. The photograph is only a piece of the plant, but to our minds it makes sense, and in turn we interpret it to be a beautiful object. Thus, through subject matter, perspective, and presentation, I seek to find beauty.

From: $325

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As always, we invite you to come spend some time looking through the Drawers yourself during our open hours (Tuesday — Sunday, Noon to 5pm!)

See you soon,

Amanda

Membership & Gallery Manager