Greetings, Blue Sky fans & friends!
Earlier this month, we started posting a weekly series spotlighting all of the artists represented in the 2013 Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers! We’ll be posting here a preview of 10 Drawers artists published 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Have a look at the previous artist spotlights HERE.
Ready? Here are this week’s 10…
Artist Statement: Originally from NJ, I moved to Montana in 2010 to heal the wounds that are created by living the in the most densely populated state and being so isolated from nature. Hungry Horse On the northern edge of the 1.5 million acre roadless Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex in Montana lays the Hungry Horse Dam project. I moved from the NYC area to Montana to live next to such a wilderness. Early spring reveals the cost to the land and dream.
Artist Statement: “Waiting Room” —These interior panoramas were conceived (mostly) in “waiting rooms” of various businesses, hospitals, bars, etc. in Portland, Oregon, utilizing an Apple iPhone and stitching “app”. Mostly I did this to pass the time, for my own amusement, and to take away something visually interesting from otherwise sterile, impersonal spaces. We all seem to spend a major chunk of time in such places, and I decided to document some of them, using this amazing, ubiquitous tool. The major benefits of the iPhone are that it is non-threatening (to others), simple to use (but technically sophisticated) and is always with you. The result is an altered vision of space, constructed from slices of time – similar to time-lapse photography. The software sometimes makes decisions on splicing that can’t be anticipated, making for surprising results. This is an on-going project.
Artist Statement: As a portrait photographer, I am drawn to those who live on the margins in society. My documentations lead me into many subcultures. I do not only document these experiences, but also actively participate in them. This not only gives me a deeper understanding of what I am documenting, but experience and appreciation I could not gain from short visits, or as an “outsider.”
After documenting various community situations such as urban community houses and Rainbow Gatherings, I was drawn to Oregon to explore intentional community and sustainable living the Pacific Northwest is widely known for. I started with Alpha Farm: Alpha not only means “beginning,” but this community is one of the longest sustaining communities of its kind in the country.
Up in the road from Alpha Farm in Deadwood, is LivingWell, an off-grid nature spirit sanctuary. Founders Mark and Mary Gold McNutt host apprentices, along with having workshops and events on the land. They have permaculture style gardens, and various off-grid systems. And aside from being a nature sanctuary, there is a strong focus on the spirits of the land, which Mark and Mary Gold credit as co-creators of the sanctuary and events held there. LivingWell strives to be sustainable, being off-grid and completely on solar power. Gravity fed spring water comes from the land, and buildings are heated with firewood. Events held on the land include song circles and various workshops. The biggest event at LivingWell is the yearly Earth and Sky Gathering. This event has been held for nineteen years, and features a fire walk along with other workshops and rituals.
Getting to participate in these gatherings myself, I gained an appreciation not only for the power of the rituals, but the strong sense of community created by the group. LivingWell, and its affiliated non-profit Aerious, have a community of friends, neighbors and past apprentices that continue to contribute to the sanctuary.
Artist Statement: Ephemeral Views “It’s as though there’s a wonderful secret in a certain place and I can capture it. Only I can do it at this moment, only this moment and only me…” Walker Evans. This often quoted line from Walker Evans has for better or worse guided my work for over thirty years. Like Evans, I’ve always considered myself a documentary photographer, and documentary photographers spend a lot of frames in their quest for one that illustrates the “truth” about the subject at hand. Timing is everything to the documentarian. The still camera’s singular advantage is its ability to record a significant intersection of time and place. What matters most to the success of the image is the moment the shutter is released. What matters most historically is the relevance of that moment.
I approach the culturally modified landscape in much the same way. I do think of it as photographing the land (which implies place), but also as trying to capture a revealing moment about that particular place. Composition and angle of view are important to me as a classically trained photographer, but those are learned techniques. Being in the right place and knowing when to trip the shutter is pure instinct and can’t be taught. Because of this I’m usually attracted to those situations that challenge my intuitive senses: when the weather is volatile, the lighting elusive, or the mystery hidden behind a banal façade. It’s a pure pleasure to realize that at most other times this scene would hardly be worth the effort for it’s rarely the place itself that excites; rather it’s the fragile promise of timing and opportunity coming together for a brief moment to give up its extraordinary secret.
Artist Statement: For nearly as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the remnants of the Coastal Defense Forts that once guarded our nations coasts. I can remember visiting Fort Stevens and the other Forts at the mouth of the Columbia River and those in the Puget Sound with my parents as a child. These were the places that I wanted to go to and explore when we were on our vacations. Now many years later I take my own children to visit the fortifications. Our favorite one is Fort Stevens, it is the closest, and it is the largest of the ones that once guarded the entrance to the Columbia. Parts of the Batteries that I loved to play on as a child, my children will never be able to play on, as many areas are no longer safe to be in. Even in the last few years, there have been several areas that were accessible that are now blocked off. These factors have been the major impetus behind this project.
Artist Statement: “Layers” is the first word that comes to mind when people look at my work. And truly, that is exactly what I am after. Love of Layers, the name of this portfolio, represents an inquiry into how compression occurs in the translation from three to two dimensions on a printed page. Like the early cubist painters, I choose to close the distance between what is in deeper space and what is on the surface of the printed image by anchoring the images to the edges of the paper forcing them to remain on the surface. Occasionally by piercing that surface, I give the viewer a peek into deeper space.
Artist Statement: When the autumn goes and the winter comes on Fairbanks, I am cheerfully heading off outside to find ice. Ice patterns shaped on ponds, lakes or rivers are one of the most magnetic subjects during the beginning of winter. The window to find ice patterns is short, because all surfaces on the ground are covered once snow falls in Alaska. Wandering around looking for ice reminds me of treasure hunting in my boyhood. I used to run out into woods after school hours. Exploring places that made up my neighborhood was an adventure and I enjoyed leaving my footprints on unknown areas. It was fun and uplifting enough to fulfill my young, innocent curiosity. As an adult, photographing ice has its roots from those childhood adventures. It’s in that spirit I strive to know the environment deeper-and genuine curiosity propels me to be involved in the place I live. It’s a dialog between nature and me. The photograph is the treasure I take from hunting my surroundings. About the “Ice Formation” series: This series captured ice formations on lakes and rivers in Fairbanks, Alaska. Many of these are frozen bubbles of gases like Methane or carbine dioxide trapped under ice. The diameter of the ice formations in these photos is about 10-30 inches. Because methane gas is considered as one of the fundamental causes of greenhouse effects, scientists in Alaska are researching these frozen bubbles in relation to the global climate change.
Artist Statement: In Seneca, Oregon, in February, with blowing snow obscuring the horizon, a bear in cleats surveys a snowed- in ball field. Seneca lies at the very northwest corner of the Great Basin. The bear faces southeast, away from the Cascades and toward the desert basins of southeast Oregon and Nevada. I can construct a geographical fantasy in which the fence is the hydrological divide: as the snow to the west beyond the fence melts the water will find its way to the Columbia River and the Pacific, while water from the snow in the outfield will flow eastward to evaporate in the shallow lakes and alkali pans of the Great Basin Desert. This fantasy, though too precise by far, helps me to appreciate the physical geography as well as the human re-shaping of it.
“Landscape” is a human concept; “land” is geology, it pre-exists us. By occupying or re-shaping or even by observing the land we transform it into landscape. I am in search of the stories, the history, the values, and the myths that power that transformation, and thus add human meaning to the geography. There is a point where our values, history and mythology intersect with the geography, and where the act of looking determines what is seen; I try to photograph as close as I can to that point.
Or, if it’s beautiful, cool, ironic, classic, or mysterious, I just can’t resist.
All of these pictures were photographed on medium-format film. I have no grudge against digital, but for medium- format quality it’s still too expensive, and film does what I need to do. However, the excellent film I have used for the last decade has been discontinued, and once the small stock in my fridge is gone, my way of working will necessarily change. I wait with bated breath…
Artist Statement: Hand coloring black and white photographs mixes the cool modern look of photography with the soulful, ancient practice of painting. That’s one reason I like making them. Another reason is, I just think they look exciting. This portfolio contains 10 hand-colored photos taken this year of one of my favorite subjects, the western Oregon forest.
Artist Statement: At the end of the school day the buildings lie vacant. Remnants of work – the stuff of learning – cluster against glass panes. Some is artfully arranged and other bits and pieces lay apparently forgotten, gathering dust. The arrangements can be funny, dreamlike, poignant, and mysterious. They remind me of my children and students, but they also take me back to my own days as a child in a schoolhouse. We were all funny, and we were all dreamy.
Until next week,
Amanda B. Clem,
Membership & Gallery Manager