Happy Birthday, Blue Sky!
Today we celebrate Blue Sky's 38th birthday! Seems fitting that today we begin a weekly series spotlighting all of the artists represented in the 2013 Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing 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.
Beginning today, 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 [email address="email@example.com"] 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.
Let's get started: here are this week's 10...
Artist Statement: These images are part of a larger, collaborative project shot in 2011 titled “The 45th Parallel.” The project profiled three endangered rural towns in Oregon, focusing on economic depression and rising energy deficits that render rural life increasingly more difficult to sustain. The series included interviews with local residents, essays by author Lisa Wells, and photographs by photographer Bobby Abrahamson. This work was exhibited at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon in 2011.
Artist Statement: I have always loved the west. The mountains and desert plains call to me with a promise of adventure and solitude. I travel there as often as I can, amazed at the scope of the land, looking for meaning in the emptiness. I think of early photographers heading west for the first time, carrying with them their large cameras and working with laborious early processes. Capturing images of the west that most will not see for themselves. I think of them as I look for signs of those that came before me. Photographing the evidence left behind by progress and expansion. I photograph the New West through an old process, comparing what I find with what those that came before me found.
Artist Statement: Espiritismo, the practice of communication with ancestral spirits through trance possession is found throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. In Venezuela, a mythological goddess figure of centuries-old indigenous legend—Maria Lionza—is the focal point for gatherings in the mist-laden jungle of Mount Sorte. This magico-religious movement is composed in perfect reflection of Venezuela’s own multicultural history. It is a syncretic, mestizo blending of African, Spanish and Indian traditions and beliefs. Theatrical healing ceremonies and colorful pageantry blend wildly to bring forth knowledge of the esoteric passed down through spiritual caravans, pilgrims known as the Marialionceras.
For the past several years I have embarked on a process to discover and document the religious desire and its elemental expressions throughout the world. In my own upbringing technology has dominated my understanding creating a psychological underpinning that everything has in some way been answered, classified, made subordinate to some expertise, equation or data.
I want my work to expose the viewer to a world that defies this confinement—one whose foundation rests in the unknown. Spirit, ritual and ceremony exist first from what in Haitian Vodou is called the Myste’re. Its human expression begins with great beauty, warmth, power and embrace. These are elements rooted in our ancestry and their flickering shadows still define us in the mystery of life.
Artist Statement: "Waiting for Care" — A U.S. based medical team of doctors and healthcare professionals travel to Haiti one week each year to treat the medically disenfranchised in rural areas of northern Haiti. Each day the team leaves its base before sunrise, drives to their location, sets up a mobile medical clinic, and treats hundreds of people. The day ends at sunset, due to lack of electricity. The clinic is packed up and the team returns home. The results are astonishing. After five hard days of work, nearly 1500 people are seen by doctors, given a thorough medical examination, and supplied with needed medications.
Equally astonishing are the numbers of people who show up for a chance to be seen at the clinics, and how long they’re willing to wait. On any given day, twice as many people will come, as the team is able to treat.
For the last two years I’ve accompanied the HACAOT medical team (Haitian Caribbean American Organization of Texas). On Wednesday November 11th, 2011, the team left their base in Cap Haitian at 6:10 am, and drove to the town of Dondon. When they arrived at 8:15 am, there were already 500 people waiting. By 10 am the crowd had swelled to 1100. The last patient finished at the clinic at 5:27 pm, under flashlight illumination. A total of four-hundred and ten people were treated.
The crowd at Dondon was the largest I’ve seen. Only a third of the people were able to get into the clinic. This collection of photographs, taken at the Dondon clinic on November 11, 2011, are images of people waiting outside the treatment area hoping to be one of the lucky ones to be admitted. Three of the photographs are of people who were eventually seen, five of the photos are of people who were not.
Artist Statement: "Finding Beauty" — Confessions of a photo romantic: I believe in the soothing nature of beautiful things I like making things with my hands and the inherent beauty of hand crafted platinum prints I am a purist I believe that artists have an important role in society For me, the act of photographing and the process of making prints is a deliberate, contemplative experience The process is as much a part of the resulting image as the subject itself I believe that beauty is in everything and every person I endeavor to reveal the beauty in ordinary things My work is important to me - it is an important part of me I get comfort out of knowing that other people view my work and make it part of their lives
Artist Statement: Seven of the ten photographs presented here were included in a photo-essay that accompanied Cheston Knapp’s written essay, “Faces of Pain,” published together in the Fall 2012 Portland to Brooklyn issue of Tin House Magazine. The photographer and writer spent several months immersed in the historically rich and ongoing world of professional wrestling in Portland, Oregon. With the use of canted angles, B&W film, and at times a flash, stylistically the photographs reference a bygone era in photojournalism, as the content unveils the dynamic relationship between performance and audience.
Artist Statement: "Close to Home" — I have been photographing urban landscapes in Portland, Oregon since 1982. I joined the Portland Grid Project in 2007. In this new series, “Close to Home,” I have been working outside the Grid Project, exploring neighborhoods close to the homes where I have lived in the past 25 years. I have found lately that residential areas hold the greatest interest for me with a stronger presence of trees and plants in the images. My earlier work was built much more around houses and buildings.
Light and color direct my wandering but very often it is the small details in a particular scene that stop me. I like to find a quiet calm place in my images. There are many times in Portland when the sky is gray and the beauty of the light comes from an overcast sky, porch lights, and reflections off the wet streets. I find these images comforting, they make me smile and appreciate this place where I have made my home.
Artist Statement: Michael Cardiello is a visual artist who splits his time between Burns Lake, British Columbia; Helena, Montana; Portland, Oregon; and Montreal, Québec. He received a BFA in Photography from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2010. Michael’s work focuses on his alternative, and often strange, life. This summer he will continue an on-going photo series titled “Stand Still,” which is related to labor camps, transient youth, and nomadic seasonal workers (tree planters) in northern British Columbia. All of his photos are captured on a specific discontinued color film stock with specialized 90’s era cameras. He co-founded Incandescent, a color film zine based in Portland, OR. He’s currently teaching photography, filmmaking, and stop-animation classes to grade school students.
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Artist Statement: "Tempus Incognitus” (Time Unknown) is my series of photographs depicting hotel rooms in which time and space fade into one another. Think Edward Hopper interiors awash in James Turrell colors with David Lynch directing.
“Tempus Incognitus” challenges our intuition about time by showing the day’s intervals of changing light existing concurrently. The Cubists painted individual scenes from several different perspectives all at once. I photographed individual rooms at several different times of day from a single perspective.
I utilize a time-intensive technique that captures the evolution of light and emphasizes change in vivid colors. I shoot multiple exposures over the course of two days or more in order to produce each image, which is created in-camera and on-film with no digital manipulation.
Artist Statement: "Grand Manner" — These portraits of my friends and chosen family express some of the mythic and archetypal qualities they embody. For me these attributes are largely informed by their chosen position of living on the fringes or outside of the society they were born into.
Artist Statement: These images are part of a series called "Real Artifice," in which I make photographs in the studio of constructed still life sets through which I play with the notion of re-presentation and the fusion of object and depiction within the picture. Within every composition, there is one element that is presented as a photographic print. Thus, the act of taking a photo often happens several times before I make the final photograph. In some images the reproduced object appears more genuine than the real, and the distinction of what is “real” begins to lose significance. The series explores the nature of the medium of photography by drawing attention to its transparent nature in which the tactile surface is often forgotten, and its tendency to be viewed through many layers of mediation and re- contextualization.
Be sure to visit this blog again next week to "meet" 10 more artists!
Amanda B. Clem,[br]Membership & Gallery Manager