Dogs in Pioneer Square

Tonight I went to the opening reception for a two-photographer show at the G. Gibson Gallery in Pioneer Square. One half of the exhibit was by John Divola called “Dogs Chasing my Car in the Desert” and the other half was by Eirik Johnson called “Animal Holes.” “Animal Holes” was a series of photos of animal burrow openings in urban and rural settings. In the urban images the juxtaposition of what are so obviously the workings of nature mixed with the broken glass and plastic trash of city living is interesting:

But the photos were all so similar in composition–a hole in a rectangle–that it brought to mind my whole beef with collection photography (see here for more of my thoughts on this topic). While I liked Johnson’s photos, I found the other half of the exhibition much more compelling. John Divola’s sketchy black & white photos of dogs in hot pursuit of his car are so grainy as to almost look like pencil sketches:

The animal ferocity and joy pop right off the gallery wall. Even though these were also a collection, each image had its own energy and tension and could have stood on its own.

I saw some familiar faces there, including people from the Photo Center Northwest where I used to work as a black & white darkroom monitor. The rest of the crowd was mainly people milling in and out from the first Thursday Art Walk. One woman was wearing a tiny white dog tucked into the front of her jacket. I wished I’d brought a camera with me so I could photograph her little fluffball next to the snarling black dogs running across the walls.

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