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Artist's Reception: Brian Ulrich at Julie Saul Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Is This Place Great or What: Artifacts and Photographs

Exhibition Dates: March 22-May 5, 2012

Conversation with the artist:
Tuesday, April 17
6:30 pm

The large-scale color prints of Brian Ulrich present us with a strange contemporary drama of consumer culture. Earlier work Copia (2002 -2006) shows the alignment of consumerism with patriotism. There is indeed something grandios about the way Ulrich captures the lines of registers in a big-box store, something determined in the gaze of a man selecting a new fishing pole, something ominous in the shot of the last rack of clothing for sale in an oversized empty shop. The seductive even addictive power of consumerism is evident in the shots. There is a strange disconnectedness in the shoppers who seem to hunger for more- even as they consume grow more ravenous.Thrift (2005 - 2007) and Dark Stores (2008 - 2009) continue to explore the theme but with different significance and weight. Thrift shifts the local to the second-hand marketplace where buyers scavenge, hunt, and pick through the piles, racks, and bins of someone else's discarded clothing, toys and electronics. We are struck with the sheer waste of consumerism as much as we are let down by its inability to save the vacant fronts we see later in Dark Stores. The work engages social, political, and economic realities of the American strada. The desire to consume overwhelms all levels- rich and poor alike are targets of marketing, advertising, and the consumerist machine. Ulrich shows the wheels and gears turn in all of us and inspires us to question our relationship to these roles and to consider if not revaluate our place within the monster machine.

In this Ulrich's third show with the gallery we will be encouraged to take one last look back at the American retail apparatus, which he will frame in a post-war historical context. This perspective to be achieved through pairings of his work with vintage objects collected- a restored sign that reads "Fast Food" and pe-barcode labels from obsolete products. We recognize these objects as artifacts. Their placement beside the images works to push Ulrich's work into history as well.

Exhibition coincides with Is This Place Great or What, a major monograph published by Aperture Foundation. Text includes an essay by Juliet B. Schorr and 95 color plates. Gallery show to be followed by a survey exhibition of Ulrich's work organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art; exhibition will travel to the Anderson Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University and the North Carolina Museum of Art over the next two years.

For more information please contact Julie Saul Gallery

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Artist's Reception: Gerald Pisarzowski at John Cleary Gallery

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Art and Alchemy

Exhibition Dates: March 24 - April 21, 2012

Reception with the Artist:
Saturday, March 24
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Gerald Pisarzowski has an intimate relationship with place; he returns time and again to photograph places he knows and has been before. He is looking for the essence, the soul, the magic of his favorite subjects in Pine River/Scott's Falls, the CNE Midway, Botanicals and Newfoundland. The silky surface of his platinum prints do feel embedded with a certain magic, and energy emanates from the rhythmic forms. Beyond place Pisarzowski takes interest in opposing forces- rigid and delicate form, movement and scale, awe inspired light and the depth of darkness. Layers of time and study, the act of knowing a place is translated in the prints. There is nothing obvious or direct; Pisarzowski has unlocked the deepest secrets of his natural subjects.

For more information on the exhibition please visit John Cleary Gallery

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Book Signing: Jim Dow at Robert Klein Gallery

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

American Studies

Exhibition Dates: March 17 - May 5, 2012

Opening Reception:
Saturday, March 17
2:00 - 4:00 pm

Book Signing with Dow
Saturday, April 21
2:00 - 4:00 pm

Armed with an 8 x 10 view camera Jim Dow has dedicated his work to recording cultural history in the modern landscape, for it is the every day that we most easily overlook. From North Dakota to Great Brittian and Argentina Dow draws our attention to places that seem to belong to another time but exist in our own era. Diners, barber shops, markets, ballfields, and signs become the centerpiece of his work. The frames are quiet, often formally balanced and void of figures. Though the subjects could easily play on nostalgia they do not, there is a certain matter of factness to the work. The frames stare at us with a documentary tone and elevate to cultural artifact. We find ourselves engaged in honest and direct viewing experience; we reconsider the familiar to find the beauty of the relics that exist in our modern landscape.

Dow has taught photography at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for over 20 years. His work has been collected by many institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the George Eastman House and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

For more information on the exhibition please visit Robert Klein Gallery

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Reception with the Artist: Enrico Natali at Joseph Bellows Gallery

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 2, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Artist's Reception:
Saturday, March 3rd
5:00 - 8:00 pm

Enrico Natali first developed his interest in photography in 1951 while a Cadet in the US Coast Guard Academy. Natali made great strides with his work in the 1960's and 1970's. An early series, New York Subway 1960 (currently on view at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art) turned interest into passion and pursuit. Taking America as his subject he continued to work and travel across the country capturing what are arguably some of the most American cities- Chicago, New Orleans, and Detroit. Some of the portrait work was gathered into the text New American People and published in 1972 by Morgan & Morgan. A second publication, American Landscapes, by Panopticon Press in 1991 continued to affirm his position in the photographic landscape. Natali gained critical attention and praise from curators and fellow artists, including support in his application for a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship from Sam Wagstaff, Hugh Edwards, and Ansel Adams.

Then Natali did something unexpected. He paused, pulled back from photography, and turned inward to family and meditation practice. Eventually Natali built a Zen meditation center, now called Blue Heron Center for Integral Studies.

Perhaps even more unexpected, and to his followers more exciting, is Natali's reemergence on the photographic scene. New work began in 2000 was inspired by a photography trip with his son and advances in digital technology. Natali's creative flame was rekindled. In many ways Natali seems to have picked up where he left off; the 1963-1975 landscape works were open, spacious, often void of figures, and very architecturally structured. The new works are crisp, strongly composed, and saturated with color. The thread that ties the work together is much less tight than before; true to its title, Just Looking, the series focuses on the completeness of the individual frame, the perfection in the particular moment rather than getting stuck on repetition of a particular theme. The expansive approach allows us to weave our own threads, reflect on our own understanding of his frames and what they depict of our contemporary culture. Better yet we may choose to rest in one frame, engage a "quiet looking," and meditate on the elegant wholeness of each and every piece of Reality.

For more information on the exhibition, artist's works and reception please visit Joseph Bellows Gallery

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Artist's Talk: Teun Voeten at PDNB Gallery

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Photographs by
Delilah Montoya, Jeffrey Silverthorne, and Teun Voeten

Discussion with Teun Voeten
Thursday, March 8
RECEPTION 5:30-6:30pm

Exhibition through May 5, 2012

Slide lecture by Teun at SMU the evening prior:
Wednesday, March 7
6:30 PM
Meadows School of Art, SMU
Owens Art Center, Room B600
1601 Bishop (Hillcrest at Granada) 75205

Mexico-US border issues continue to intensify, and many narratives are involved on both sides of this litteral line in the sand. On the US side of the border many show anger as they question the ethics and legality of citizenship, access to healthcare and education, and the right to work and related threat to US jobs. On the Mexican side of the border the drug war, gang violence, and killings flare. While both ends have a spill-over, many Americans tend to feel a degree of outrage, as if something of ours is being stolen by migrants. Little serious thought, and much less action is given by Americans to the Mexican condition along and on the other side of the border. This exhibition offers the perspectives of three PDNB photographers who, at their own risk, work to shed light on the circumstances of the other side.

Delilah Montoya's Trail of Thirst series reveals the path of migrants through the Arizona-Mexico border on the O'odham Tohono Nation reservation. Jeffrey Silverthorne documented the infamous brothels of Boy's Town culture in Nuevo Laredo Mexico for over 10 years (1980-1990's). Teun Voeten, Belgium based photojournalist, dares to bring us to the Ciudad Juárez and document the drug wars.

Montoya's panoramic images of the desert landscape represent some of the most treacherous terrain in many immigrants' crossing; in the early 2000's over 40% of the migrants died trying to reach the US. This staggering figure reminds us that the wide frames are as beautiful as the are dangerous; the open view allows us to position ourselves in the space. With our feet in the sand, the dry air

in our lungs, the hot sun on our skin we feel vulnerable and alone. Many of the scenes go a step further to translate experience- they depict campgrounds, trails, and water stations. Void of figures, the frames do not miss the mark of passers through. Debris proves passage in as little as a plastic bag in the wind, or as much as discarded clothing, shoes, wrappers, backpacks, and other personal items. This work forces us to consider the true desire to try for a better life, even when odds are stacked against against you in passage and after arrival.


Silverthorne shines light into the dark corners of the night, into the brothels and border patrol activity. Saturated scenes of back rooms and bar signs represent a sliver of Silverthorne's decade-long project on La Zona, Boy's Town. Established as a "zone of tolerance" for prostitution in 1916 by General Pershing this area was intended to provide entertainment for the soldiers and has endured. The women's personalities vary from fierce to guarded. We have the sense of entrapment, and the rooms remind us of prisoner's cells. These color shots are balanced by black and white prints with similar yet opposing sentiment- the hunt. These prints are gritty, dark, and reminiscent of crime-scene photos. A man stands handcuffs on hip ready to capture another man emerging from a river. We know his destination will next be one of confinement. Between the two series there is a sense of desperation, a true struggle against captivity, and a seemingly impossible hope for freedom.

We feel the sharp edge of danger, tension, and ferocity in the frames by Voeten. The act of survival seems to depend more and more desperately on the ability to arm ones self. The mere attempt at security or normalcy seems futile. Heavily armored police patrol the neighborhood, Cartel members flaunt their affiliation, and blood literally runs in the streets. Voeten's work is an ongoing photo essay on the ever intense conflict between the drug cartels, the government's inability to keep them at bay, and the unfortunate civilians caught in the crossfire. With the Drug War's death count now over 47,500 life seems little more than a passing phase. We feel this as we look at frames of mourning women, police slayings and funerals, but most of all as we compare the simple crosses in the desert against the grand mausoleums to the fallen Cartel. We seem to search in vein for glory.

This exhibition targets a range of issues that Americans bundle simply and neatly into the term "The Border Issue," but here we are offered a range of weighty and difficult narratives. US concerns seem trivial when measured agains any one of the frames in PDNB'sBorderexhibition. Viewers will certainly leave this show with heavy heart and a greater sense of conscious.

For more information on the exhibition and related artist talks please visit PDNB Gallery

Attached PDF: Arts & Culture article by Patricia Mora

Download PDF (24 K)

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