Group Exhibition: Rennie Barrow, Bevan Davies, Charles Johnstone, Gene Kennedy, Michael Mulno, Phel Steinmetz
Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CA
Article by Cathy Breslaw
Joseph Bellows Gallery brings together the work of eight photographers, emerging and established, spanning several decades from the 1970’s to the present. Contemporary and vintage black and white photography are included in this show of gelatin silver and platinum prints ranging in sizes from 7”x7” to 20.5” x 25.5”. As the title of the show (Living Arrangements) implies, the content of the images relate to domestic sites, picturing developing and existing communities, track homes, neighborhoods and multi-unit dwellings.
The commonality of all the photographers is their straightforward, no frills, depiction of dwellings in their
own particular environment and decade. There are no people or pets, and no views of any interiors of the buildings. With one exception by Scott Davis of night-time views in southern California creating a nocturnal ambiance, all others are daylight depictions. Regardless of the decade, there is a certain quiet subtly and neutrality to the images, where the photographers want us to form our own opinions about what we are seeing. There is no direct intent to let us in on their point of view. Reenie Barrow’s photographs from the 1970s offer curbside views of homes with trimmed hedges and formal compositions. Bevan Davies’ photographs show small apartment buildings and large-scale corner views of residential streets in LA in the 1970s’ while Charles Johnstone’s small scale photographs from the early 2000’s depicts mobile homes of coastal communities. Douglas Gilbert’s photographs show images of Midwest suburban neighborhoods of the 1970’s - revealing natural landscapes transforming into subdivisions, while Gene Kennedy’s large format panoramic frames depict the development of track home communities in the 1980’s in California. Michael Mulno’s symmetrical compositions of singular buildings taken in the last few years depict multi-unit buildings commonly seen in San Diego neighborhoods, while Phel Steinmetz’s multi-panel panoramic photographs explore the rapid development of real estate housing of the 1970s and 80’s. The photographers in this exhibition provide us with a path to reflect upon what we normally take for granted – the dwellings and places which we call our home.