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Shifting Practice

allusions, interventions, and conventions in contemporary photography

January 6 – February 6, 2015
Talk with the artists, Thursday January 15th, 12:30PM
Panel talk and following reception Sunday January 25th, Panel 3-4PM, Reception 4-6PM


 Joel Fisher
 Joel W. Fisher Rozel Point, #6 Cow Leg, 2013/2014


Photography is ever shifting, as tied to technological advances as it is to art history. From its beginning, photography has been defined by its accessibility and reproducibility – by the ways it differs from painting. As a result, photography's relevance within a fine art context has been questioned repeatedly. It has been restricted by conventions, limited in its definitions, and frequently separated from other artistic practice – often as much by photographers as by others.

The artists in Shifting Practice work with photography, utilizing the medium and engaging in a larger dialogue with what the medium is and will be. Each artist approaches photography in accord with its technology, history within art, or popular and commercial uses.

Chas Bowie's (Portland, Oregon) images were inspired by authorless, documentary photographs and images from magic books that were created to showcase misdirection and slow reveals. As he created the still-lives, he connected deeply personal meaning with homages to these types of non-art photos. His images reflect a history of photography as well as a reformation of the familiar into something new. Teresa Christiansen (Portland, Oregon) constructs sets that combine objects and photographs that have been cut, folded, and torn. She rephotographs the sets, fusing the objects and images into one mediated layer of information, creating a new scene that is both real and imagined. Dru Donovan (Portland, Oregon) recreates true narratives in her staged portraiture. She blurs the line of documentary and fiction in her explorations of bodies' uses in self-expression and in emotional connection and the care of others.

Joel W. Fisher (Portland, Oregon) investigates the power of context by examining and recreating images from a variety of historical and cultural viewpoints. His work Rozel Point, joins an image of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, abstract images captured from the view of standing on the jetty, and curved decaying cow legs from the area. Each of Isaac Layman's (Seattle, Washington) photographic constructions combine many images into one seamless, hyperreal image. When Layman uses household objects in larger than life-sized works, the mundane becomes remarkable. These works are further altered in scale as they focus on the texture of surfaces, connecting with abstract expressionism in result, if not in method. Paula Rebsom's (Seattle, Washington) disrupted nature scenes are an extension of her earlier sculpture practice in which she built objects and photographed them within nature. These new works are created using motion sensor cameras, documenting an interaction between animal and object/image. The resulting photograph is both a crafted intervention and a straightforward documentation of a fleeting moment.

-Blake Shell
The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Director and Curator
The Art Gym and Belluschi Pavilion



This exhibition and publication are made possible in part through Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation. Paula Rebsom's series is supported by Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation. Thank you to Elizabeth Leach Gallery and the artists for the loan of the artwork.


©2013 Marylhurst University