Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Power", Global Social and Environmental Issues Explored at Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego
“Power”  Exhibition
Review by Cathy Breslaw

“What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do”. This quote by Artistotle is placed in large letters on the wall at the beginning of the exhibition at MOPA.  The title and theme of ‘power’ refers to the use of photography as an instrument to shed light on important global social and environmental issues.  Based on Prix Pictet, an annual juried prize – has established itself as the world’s leading prize in photography and sustainability. It chose “power” as the subject of this year’s exhibition – photography professionals from around the world nominated 650 photographers from 76 countries and the list was whittled down to 12 for this exhibition. Guy Tillim, a South African photojournalist, exhibits black and white  archival pigment prints taken in 2006 during the weeks of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first general election since the 1990’s. These images mirror the political wasteland and unrest resulting from the rivalry of the two presidential candidates at that time.  Jacqueline Hassink, a photographer from the Netherlands presenta images from her series  “Arab Domains”, chromogenic prints made of the dining rooms and boardrooms of 36 Arab women business leaders from 18 Arab countries.  Hassink uses the ‘table’, in this case, a symbol for economic power, to shed light into the lives of these highly successful women in cultures traditionally lacking in ‘powerful’ women. French photographer Philippe Chanceldocuments the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami and ensuing nuclear reactor incident in northern Japan in “Datazone”, archival inkjet prints revealing the power of natural disasters.  Photographer Edmund Clark explores the spaces and objects of power and control  of incarceration at Guantanamo. Other photographers explore subjects of war, oil spills, impact of deforestation in the northwestern U.S. and the social realities of life in urban areas.
Congo Democratic      Guy Tillim       archival pigment print

Cathy Breslaw is a contemporary visual artist exhibiting across the U.S. at museums, galleries, college and university galleries and art centers. She is a contributing writer for Art Scene, southern California and writes her own blog: www.artfullifebycathy.blogspot.com   Her art can be views at: www.cathybreslaw.com

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