• Cristee Cook

Photography at SP/N Gallery is an urban escape

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

If you weren’t looking for SP/N Gallery, you’d probably miss it. Hidden away in a disembodied industrial strip, SP/N is a public gallery space that offers solitude and inspiration. It’s also part of the University of Texas at Dallas.

Currently on exhibit is Reflections, Projections, Collections: The Landscape in Review, curated by museum director Greg Metz. The reception area offers a glimpse of the story that will unfold through the landscapes as you journey through the exhibit. Debora Hunter’s Untitled (Man with Tissue Paper), from her Looking Glass series is an over sized graphic in which the themes of reflection and projection are both literal and symbolic. Peering out from behind a storefront display, we see a man almost enveloped in tissue paper. To me, the photograph asks a question: Does humanity contribute to the environment/landscape or just consume it?

Another notable piece that helped set the tone of the exhibit is Alisa Eykilis’ Alice series of four photographs. (Alice to Q’s 5th (River Shop), Alice to Q’s 8th [Coronation), Alice Takes R.Q., and Alice to Q’s 7th (Forest)]. We see Alice only in reflection, or in bite sized pieces like her shoes. Instead, we travel her path through the reflections in the water, the pattern of the leaves, or the direction of the light. These gentle, carefully composed photographs are soothing and encouraging, and carry the themes of collection and reflection.

The landscapes presented are a variety of realistic landscapes and more illustrative renditions. Dornith Doherty's chromogenic photographs are stacked images that create a compelling story. Specifically, Untitled (Male Manikin) and Untitled (Red Dresses) reflect back to us the effect of commerce and materialism on the landscape. I found them to be rich and mysterious. I kept going back to them, and each time I discovered something new that deepened the story for me.

Included in the exhibit are select pieces from the Collection Library. Classic photographers such as Ansel Adams and James Baker are represented. I was excited to see Russell Chatham’s New Zealand Suite. The triptych looked hand drawn, with a frolicking pace that made me feel I was looking at a fervent sketch more than a photograph.

Reflections, Projections, Collections: The Landscape in Review is a detailed, surprising photography exhibit that left me feeling hopeful and curious about my place in the world, especially the natural world. There is still a chance to catch the exhibit before September 14th. SP/N is a free public art space.

For more information about the artists covered here, please visit their personal links.

Debora Hunter – http://www.deborahunter.com

Dornith Doherty – https://www.dornithdoherty.com

Carolyn Brown – https://www.carolynbrownphotographer.com

Jeff Baker – http://www.jeffbakerfineart.com

For more information about the SP/N Gallery, connect on Facebook HERE.

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