Eirik Johnson features his new series of photographic diptychs. Space, Place, and Order is a group exhibition of work by Dennis Gallagher, Matthias Hoch, Candida Hofer, Amer Kobaslija, Surabhi Saraf, and Michael Zelehoski.
The Rena Bransten Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Eirik Johnson and a group exhibition titled Space, Place, and Order curated by Jessica Daniel.
Eirik Johnson's new series of photographic diptychs, Barrow Cabins, features winter and summer views of nine small Iñupiat Eskimo hunting cabins in Barrow, Alaska, a town 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 1300 miles south of the North Pole. Extreme weather conditions and high winds necessitate a survivalist type of architecture there; buildings appear to be of scavenged materials - wood or pressed wood products, windows often sport plastic sheeting instead of glass, and all outbuildings seem to be "in process" and open to the elements. Winter snows hide most signifiers of the Iñupiat's domestic lives - raw wood cabins, outdoor sheds, and drying racks become white-on-white structures of quiet geometric complexity. In summer the gray brown cabins blend in with the bare earth, the gravel roads, and dying grasses. More intense colors are found in the sky, ribbons of distant water, and multi-purpose blue plastic sheeting that serves as windbreak, doors, walls, and rain wear or wraps; children's tricycles and toys add further color spots. Johnson's photos document the cabins and seasons of Barrow, AK but they also reveal surprising details about the unseen society living there, one whose small population is both social and aesthetically sensitive: arranging chairs against an exterior cabin wall to enjoy the sun, scattering plastic toys to be enjoyed by all children, or adding an awkwardly built balcony and over-hang for a better view of the vast Arctic land and sea.
Johnson was born in Seattle, WA and graduated with a BFA in Photography and a BA in History from the University of Washington, Seattle. He received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2003. His work is included in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; and George Eastman House, Rochester, NY among others.
Space, Place, and Order is a group exhibition of work by Dennis Gallagher, Matthias Hoch, Candida Höfer, Amer Kobaslija, Surabhi Saraf, and Michael Zelehoski. Each artist included utilizes their media - ceramic, photography, painting, video, and found assemblage - to explore the way we make, use, and understand our constructed environments. Dennis Gallagher's monolithic ceramic sculptures begin as roughly glazed, scored, and stacked clay blocks that combine to become architectonic constructions suggesting the many forms of our urban landscape. Matthias Hoch's carefully composed photographs extract the universal structures - the rhythmic geometry of a wall of alternating glass and concrete bricks, for instance - of modernist and contemporary architecture from the buildings' particular place to explore the forms and spaces per se. Candida Höfer's photographs also focus on the structures of our built spaces, but turn more specifically to the way in which these spaces are composed; from libraries to museums, the institutional interiors she captures beg us to consider how we order our world. In his paintings, Amer Kobaslija accesses space - in this case, the artist's studio - through unexpected angles and expressive brushwork to affect an immediate and intimate portrait of personal space. Likewise engaged in the personal, Surabhi Saraf composes a visual and auditory symphony from the mundane activity of folding laundry; the video installation of 96 grids choreographs the shifting colors and sounds from the manipulation of each shirt, sheet, or pair of jeans. Michael Zelehoski's objects are created by deconstructing quotidian objects - a wooden shipping box, a paint-spattered ladder, or one of the ubiquitous rectangular pedestals found in art galleries - and re-placing them into a two-dimensional picture plane, setting the three-dimensional components in forced perspectives in order to recreate the original object as a picture of itself.
Image: Eirik Johnson, Junked blue trucks, Forks, Washington, 2007. Archival pigment print, 24 x 30 in., edition of 10, 40 x 50 in., edition of 5
Walk-through with Eirik Johnson: Saturday, May 11, 3-4pm
Reception: Saturday, May 11, 4-6 pm
Rena Bransten Gallery
77 Geary Street | San Francisco | CA | 94108
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:30 to 5:30 and Saturday 11:00 to 5:00.