Over the past decade, Ross Sawyers has produced photographs that distill subtle but important aspects of urban domestic architecture. Throughout the evolution of this project he has remained focused on living spaces and how he relates to, and understands, those spaces in the context of contemporary culture. His pictures examine and exaggerate issues of privacy and community as well as scrutinize the ways the structures we call home affect us.
This is the Place brings together seven new photographs from Sawyers’s ongoing project Model Pictures. In the vein of the previous work, these new photographs are of models constructed and shot in the studio, however drawing and mark making take a much more dominant role in these images. Symbols drawn and scratched onto the walls of these spaces make direct reference to the ways people use their dwellings as a means of communication and as a stage to act out frustrations and anxieties.
Ross Sawyers earned his MFA from the University of Washington. Ross’s work has recently be featured in FOAM Magazine and the Magenta Foundation publication Flash Forward 2012. His work has been exhibited at Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam and in the exhibition The Ghosts of Architecture at the Henry Art Gallery (University of Washington, Seattle, WA). His work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL), the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO) and the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA). This was Ross’s fourth solo exhibition at Platform Gallery.
Jaq Chartier SubOptic
September 5 to October 12, 2013
REVIEW New American Paintings blog
Known for her Testing series of paintings which were inspired by scientific images like gel electrophoresis, Jaq Chartier has also found another alternate body of work slowly coalescing in her studio—work that springs from her interest in landscape, the natural sciences (especially biology), maps of the earth, weather and storms.
With SubOptic, Jaq has been focusing on coral reefs. In this new work, the forms reflect the clustered patterns of sea life in reefs, while the colors—some of which will actually fade over time—reference the problem of mass coral bleaching, where corals die due to a range of environmental stressors, especially increased acidity and water temperature. The painting Core Sample is based on X-rays of corals, images which help scientists evaluate changes in the growth and composition of reefs over time.
While this newer work is a departure from the Testing series, it remains connected to Jaq's continued exploration of the phenomena of materials, and fuses her interest in science with elements of color field painting, land art, process art, and minimalism. She is discovering new visual and investigative inspiration in other art and science unions, such as the early cyanotypes of British algae and seaweed by mid-nineteenth century artist Anna Atkins, an early photographer and botanist. The artist continues to develop her own custom formulas of deeply saturated inks, stains, and dyes for use in these alternate paintings and drawings. The ideas of impermanence and change developed in the Testing series are put to good use in paintings which reflect on what’s happening to our planet.
Jaq's work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, and Ahlen, Germany. Her work was also included in the travelling exhibition Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics, which was organized by the Henry Gallery of Art, Seattle; and the solo show Testing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her paintings have been included in several group shows at Platform. This was her third solo exhibition at the gallery.
Patte Loper How to Stay Alive in the Woods
June 20 to July 27, 2013
Long interested in the interface between the natural and the constructed world, Patte Loper begins her paintings by first creating models made from pieced-together scraps of found materials such as discarded cardboard, cloth, sticks, string and putty. She then makes observational paintings using the models as subjects for portraits. Painting the image of the model frontally, surrounded by a landscape of woods, the observed objects are presented as though for examination. She intentionally refers to classical portraiture or botanical studies done by naturalists before the use of photography, a time when painting was used to document, to classify, and to communicate ideas and images that would otherwise remain unknown. Patte seeks to utilize sensory experience such as the movement of the paint, the strangeness of the objects, and the familiarity of the woods as a means to explore flexible and idiosyncratic forms by plumbing hidden weights, gravitational pulls and unexpected connections within the subject matter.
Patte received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and has exhibited her work in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Milan.
SEASON at Platform
May 10–June 15
A pop-up exhibition by Seattle-based SEASON Gallery
Matt Sellars Formation
March 28 to May 4, 2013
For this exhibition, Matt Sellars took the desert as his muse. Through carved wood and slip cast terra cotta sculptures, drawings, and a video installation, he explored the harshness as well as the solitude of this seemingly empty geography, finding that the one thing the space is truly not is empty.
“The desert is poetry, but more importantly, it is the pause between stanzas. It is the crucial synapse between words that creates a whole new meaning without having spell it all out. Within all the harshness of this environment is a solitude away from the self imposed rush of our machine. This land doesn’t reveal itself to those who merely cross it. It only tells its secrets to persons that enter deeply within. Possibly the only environments that rival the desert as a place to show the observer the workings of heavenly bodies is the vast blue wilderness of the oceans or the wind shredded white of the icecaps. In these movements, the sun pushes seasons from one horizon to the other and constellations play back that myths that our kind has assigned to them.
“During the past two years working on this project, I spent a lot of time in the desert taking photographs and video footage. I discovered it allowed me a way to look at the landscape more deeply than I may have otherwise. Through the camera I was directed to seek out and pull details from the horizon that my panning gaze would have glossed over. Long time exposures at night allowed me to fasten the movement of stars to my surroundings and visualize the other side of the dark sky’s story. One night in Canyonlands I was recording the singular call of the Common Poorwill, a ground bird which hunts at night for low flying insects. It was a very warm and still night. The color of the red rock canyon had taken on the fleeting trance of moonlight and now and then I would be visited by a large flapping moth that was making its way through its bizarre nocturnal world while the bird’s call filled the air with a melodious and otherworldly tone. These are the kinds of things that happen only when one can recede into a wilderness long enough to tune all the other noise in our lives out.
“Lots of things fascinate about this fragile place including all the animals and people that leave behind their bones, their art, their shelters, their cars. They leave behind structures of hopes and industry, digging deep beneath the desert’s exoskeleton for materials often better left locked away. They leave behind evidence of Quixotic searches for water, whose pulse ebbs and flows in this land capriciously.
“Sometimes under the vault of desert sky I have felt like an ant under a magnifying glass as a dome of white light stamps out most senses save for the perception of an intimacy with heat. The geography will bring understanding to the phrase “out in the open” as a black wall of cloud and water roar across the hardpan toward you, and you, with nothing to hide behind. Other times, a new understanding of cold, as the dry air which possesses no ability to trap moisture, sends heat fleeting off into a night sky filled with sharp starlight.
“This exhibition is a reflection upon a resource of emptiness and those who seek to occupy this void. May it long be cherished and protected.”
Matt's work has been exhibited in the Schneider Museum (Ashland, OR), the Sun Valley Center for the Arts (Sun Valley, ID), Western Gallery (Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA), the Hallie Ford Museum (Willamette University, Salem, OR), and the Boise Art Museum (Boise, ID).
Adam Ekberg From the outskirts
February 14 to March 23, 2013
Adam Ekberg’s new photographs continue to record the artist’s gesture in both domestic settings and marginal landscapes. The domestic spaces reflect his interest in everyday life, while the landscapes suggest the importance of areas just outside those inhabited by people. With occasional help from an assistant, the artist plans, stages, and photographs these specific performances, always with the perspective of the camera in mind. Ekberg’s goal is for the photographically recorded gesture to appear in such a way that the viewer feels she is bearing witness to these events or can imagine bearing witness.
The moments Ekberg orchestrates vary in content from an eclipse of a pineapple to an inexplicable splash in an empty kitchen, from candle-lit distortions to an image of an aerosol container burning in an empty field. Regardless of location, these actions and their photographic representation cohere as interruptions in otherwise unremarkable places, as understated, absurdist insertions of the self created with commonplace materials. In these images Ekberg subverts the camera’s ability to accurately depict or explain these occurrences.
Adam Ekberg earned his MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2006. Exhibitions include Thomas Robertello Gallery, Chicago, and Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden, as well as group exhibitions at ClampArt, New York, and Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland. His work is in the collections of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. This was Ekberg’s third solo exhibition at Platform Gallery.
Adam Satushek afield
January 3 to February 9, 2013
REVIEW The Stranger
Adam Satushek pays close attention to the ways that human beings influence their surroundings through the traces that are left behind and the impact on the landscape from behaviors, movements, and alterations. His photographs capture the odd and unintended intersections of common, forgotten objects with the natural environment—an environment which ultimately must bear the mark of that uninvited partnership as it struggles mightily to maintain its dignity.