This post is a bit of a fail as I wanted to write about this show when it was actually on back in the New Year. The images are fantastic however, and also the life of an exhibition of course exists way beyond its actual display so I think it’s worth revisiting the images, albeit a bit (lot) late. ‘Living Arrangements’ at the Joseph Bellows Gallery in California was a group show presenting the work of eight photographers; Reenie Barrow, Bevan Davies, Scott B. Davis, Douglas R. Gilbert, Charles Johnstone, Gene Kennedy, Michael Mulno, and Phel Steinmetz. The photographs surveyed the domestic landscape, portraying residential architecture and environments and considered the complexities of what we call home.
Joseph Bellows is committed to showing both emerging and established artists in conversation with each other rather than consigning certain images to ‘vintage’ or ‘contemporary’. The point is to just show strong work to a contemporary audience and create dialogue. Several of the artists included in ‘Living Arrangements’ have also been creating significant bodies of work since the 1970’s but perhaps, the gallery suggests, have not been receiving the attention they deserve.
The texts about the artists below are reproduced from the gallery exhibition material.
"Bevan Davies’ photographs from Los Angeles in the mid 1970’s embody a topographical inventory of small apartment buildings and dingbat architecture. His straightforward views allow a subtle study of building ornamentation and structure. Also, included in the exhibition are Davies’ large-scale corner views of residential streets in the LA area. These scenes take the viewer down multiple streets from one vantage point, depicting the organization of homes at various intersections"
"Charles Johnstone’s small scale photographs from the early 2000’s depict with a resplendent glow the uniform blank white surfaces of the mobile homes that outline the private streets of the coastal community of Briny Breezes, a mobile home park that is also an incorporated town, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the intra-coastal waterway in Palm Beach County, Florida. Remarkably devoid of embellishment, each residence signals a code of communal regulations regarding outward structural appearances"
"The development, construction, and growing stages of Midwest suburban neighborhoods of the 1970’s are recorded by Douglas R. Gilbert through formally considered views that show the natural landscape transforming into planned subdivision. Gilbert’s observations reveal subtle signs, such as blankets hanging in windows and newly drawn fence lines, that people are now part of the landscape"
"In the early 1980’s Gene Kennedy’s large-format panoramic frame described numerous counties in California from an elevated viewpoint; densely organizing a landscape in transition and its result - the tract home community. His observations are informed with lucidity and beauty and with regard to the time and place his pictures depict"
"In Michael Mulno’s recent pictures, the common, unadorned multi-family units that populate the neighborhoods of central San Diego are described. The units are drawn with an overall clarity and neutrality, defining their structure while suggesting the greater physical and social landscape they reside within"
"Through Phel Steinmetz’s multi-panel photographs we find an exploration of the landscape of Southern California and its rapid development in the 1970’s and 80’s. His photographic pieces describe and question why culture creates a divide between the natural and the constructed environment"
"Reenie Barrow’s photographs explore the homes that populate the residential neighborhoods in the San Diego region of Southern California. Taken in 1970’s and utilizing a frontal curbside view, Barrow shows, through her square format camera, a balance of the individual home within the surrounding neighborhood; her photographs offer clues of existence: trimmed bushes and tree lines, trash cans, and antennas occupy yards, providing visual balance to the form of the house’s structure while suggesting inhabitance"
"The contemporary suburban landscape is described under an artificial glow of surrounding street and house lights in Scott B. Davis quiet views that transform familiar neighborhood scenes into nocturnal discoveries, rendered in the richly gradient hue of the platinum/palladium print"
The upcoming exhibition at Joseph Bellows also looks good. 'Bijou: Photographs of Theatre Box Offices' from Ave Pildas opens 5 September (running to 24 October) so check that out if you are anywhere near La Jolla (!)