TACOMA, Wash. – Eirik Johnson’s works ponder the places on the outskirts of metropolitan areas where the natural and the manmade blur. He notes: "My photographs depict strange and momentary scenes within overlooked landscapes that exist along the fraying edges of the contemporary environment. I search the boundaries between public and private land, where the framework of urban order begins to break down.”
Here Johnson seeks out the traces of interactions between the human and natural worlds where weather and water, animals and plants have absorbed, adapted, transformed, or been altered by development or the discards of human society. His eerily lovely large-scale color photographs of these encounters redefine the picturesque but also evoke complex questions about the limits of nature’s adaptability. The exhibition includes images from two recent bodies of Johnson’s work: Borderlands and Animal Holes.
Johnson received his B.F.A. in 1997 from University of Washington and his M.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute in 2003. He has received numerous grants and awards, including a Fulbright grant to live and study in Peru in 1999; a Brooks Award to the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colo., in 2003; the Santa Fe Prize for photography in 2005; and was a finalist for the James and Audrey Foster Prize, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, in 2010.
Johnson has had solo exhibitions of his work at Aperture Foundation, New York; Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, Chicago; G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle; Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cusco, Peru; and Stanford Art Spaces, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. He also has participated in numerous group exhibitions at museums and galleries across the country.
Johnson’s work can be found in museum collections throughout the United States and Peru, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and George Eastman House. Three catalogues of his work have been published: Sawdust Mountain (Aperture, 2009), Borderlands (Twin Palms Press, 2005), and Snow Star (Cavallo Point Press, 2009). He is represented by G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, and Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco.
Johnson will give a gallery talk on his work during the run of the exhibition. Please consult Kittredge Gallery’s website at www.pugetsound.edu/kittredge or the Puget Sound events calendar at www.pugetsound.edu/calendar for further information.
Kittredge Gallery serves as a teaching tool for the art department and a cultural resource for both the university and the community at large, exhibiting work by noted regional and national artists. Exhibits and talks are free and open to the public.
Opening Reception: Jan. 25, 5 to 7 p.m., Kittredge Gallery
Gallery Location: University of Puget Sound, N. 15th St. at N. Lawrence St., Tacoma, WA
Directions and Map: www.pugetsound.edu/directions
Regular Hours: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Mon.–Fri.; noon–5 p.m., Saturday
Photos are available at www.pugetsound.edu/pressphotos.
Photo on page: Untitled (island), 2004, by Eirik Johnson (chromogenic print). Courtesy of the artist and G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle.