Few themes have inspired artists more than the dialectical relationship between nature and man. In Western art since the late eighteenth century, the romantic notion of the sublime competes for space with the spirit of human endeavor. On one hand, humans are weak and in awe before the power of nature, and on the other, they are energetic and domineering builders and settlers. All of the photographs in this exhibition seem to assert the human hand into the landscape through either conceptual awareness or peripheral physical evidence. Pictures of dams, electric poles, cellular towers, and piles of man-made debris are juxtaposed with images of the ocean, dessert, mountains, and forest, though often revealing human intervention. For example, in Gabriele Woolever’s dramatic image of snowcapped mountains there are cables eerily emerging from the clouds; or in Carol Erb’s Toe of the Titan, hiking trails are featured leading to the grand rock formations in the distance; and Jeff Phillip’s photograph depicts multiple wooden braces supporting a cluster of ancient saguaros protected behind a chain fence.
The title of the exhibition, Transitional Landscapes, is directly taken from J.M. Golding’s project investigating how our eyes transition across a scene constantly shifting from one perspective to another. In her photograph we see multiple versions of a similar landscape in grey-scale overlapping each other. Perspective is also important in David Kressler’s photograph, Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Montrose, Colorado. Such as in many spectacular sights, like the Grand Canyon, viewing platforms are built for tourists to experience a particular view of nature. These constructed views are created for safety and preservation, but they also force tourists to have a common experience and photograph nature’s wonders from the same vantage point. What makes David Kressler’s image unique is that he has chosen to make the guard rail of the viewing platform the main subject of the picture instead of the impressive awe-striking canyon we are meant to be viewing. A flattening of perspective is utilized by Dana Fritz to make the narrow vertical landscape photograph Mountain Forest referencing historical Chinese painting. The Chinese term for landscape is made of two characters, mountain and water, and is linked with the philosophy of Daoism which embraces harmony with the natural world.
Other artists featured in this exhibition construct or manipulate the physical photographic object to create their landscape. Millee Tibbs and Tanya Houghton both fold their landscape photographs, one following origami-like folds and the other creating paper airplane and then displaying the work unfolded embracing the interactions of the fold lines and the image to explore cartography and mapping human journeys.
Several artists explore the ideas of the picturesque as a form of visual consumption. In Srinivas Surti’s Flatback Camper from their series Cracks on Modern Transparencies a faded once-picturesque landscape photograph is presented with a large puncture in the sky revealing the image is actually on a camper that has likely been exposed to the sun on its road trips and the puncture is a ding in the aluminum siding. Similar to Srinivas Surti’s image on the side of a camper, Kalee Appleton explores the role of the stereotypical picturesque photographic backdrops ubiquitous in photography studios across the globe, used to transport the subjects to an idealize place. She transforms the physical backdrops into sculptural forms that take the shape of a mountain and incorporates hints of photographic studio equipment and digital imaging tools and techniques into the composition to question the fiction of photography and subtlety reveal the working process of a photographer. All of the works in this exhibition avoid simple romantically sublime statements about landscape and instead observe a more complicated exchange between man and nature.
_Natasha Egan for C4FAP 2016
JUROR | Natasha Egan
Since 2011, Natasha Egan has served as the executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP). She has organized over fifty exhibitions with a focus on contemporary Asian art and artists concerned with societal issues, such as the environment, war, and economics. Egan was a guest curator for the 2010 FotoFest Biennial in Houston, Texas and juried international exhibitions. Egan has contributed essays to numerous publications and periodicals and lectures international. For over a decade, she taught in the photography and humanities departments at Columbia College Chicago, and holds a BA in Asian studies, MA in museum studies, and MFA in fine art photography.
HONORS | AWARDS
An international audience of collectors, curators, art consultants and other advocates of fine art photography will view the chosen artist’s work throughout the exhibition. All chosen artists are invited to complimentary portfolio reviews, lunch and portfolio sharing on the reception weekend. Each participant is included in the Center’s Main Gallery exhibition in Fort Collins, Colorado and Online Gallery exhibition.
Juror’s Selection: Adriene Hughs
Director’s Selection: Terri Warpinski
Two LiveBooks Website Awards: to be announced
Honorable Mention Awards:
Juror’s Honorable Mentions: Carsten Meier, Ellie Davies, Sage Lewis, and Julie Sims
Director’s Honorable Mentions: Liz Hickok, Julie Sims, Kathleen Taylor, and Srinivas Surti
In addition artists’ selected for the exhibition will also receive:
Promotion on The Center’s large social media platforms.
Professional installation images for your use.
In-gallery and online exhibition with links to artists’ websites
Press releases are sent to artists’ choice of media outlets.
Visit: http://www.c4fap.org | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 970.224.1010 | Closed Sunday and Monday