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Doug Keyes, “Chuck Close,” 1999, dye destruction print


In recognition of the “unprecedented number of applications by photographers” to the 9th Northwest Biennial, the Tacoma Art Museum is hosting a five-hour extravaganza Saturday entitled Taking Pictures Through Multiple Lenses: Photography in The Biennial.

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Rebecca Cummins, who teaches at University of Washington and is a very interesting artist in her own right, will moderate a conversation between four Biennial photographers: Michael Kenna, Doug Keyes, Isaac Layman, and Susan Seubert. The lineup promises to be a compelling mix—the artists, all extremely good at what they do, each approach photography with very different conceptual and aesthetic attitudes.

l26Layman is incredibly bright and talented, as I’ve mentioned here before, and I was a fan of Keyes long before moving to the Northwest. (Keye’s recent monograph, Collective Memory, is fantastic, and from what I gather, the first printing is going fast.) Kenna’s work isn’t a personal favorite, but that’s about my tastes and preferences, not the merit of his photography.

maskHis relatively traditional approach to the medium, his exquisite attention to craft and technique, and his years of popular success should all nicely balance nicely the younger artists’ experimentation. Portland’s Seubert the wild card I’m curious about; some of her series, including “The Ten Most Popular Places to Dump a Body in the Columbia River Gorge” and “Chimeras” hold up really well and continue to impress me, but I wish more of her work had the same effect. (Actually, her editorial work knocks me out. If you want to see really well-done assignment work, look no further. I grew up around this kind of photography, and can’t help but stop in my tracks when I see it done so well.)

Taking Pictures Through Multiple Lenses: Photography in The Biennial
February 28, 11 am-4 pm

Submissions to The 9th Northwest Biennial saw an unprecedented number of applications by photographers. These numbers reflect the tremendous growth in this medium over the past decade. Historically, artists were bound by the limitations of film and equipment, but today many select from a myriad of technologies, processes, and tools.
Biennial artists Michael Kenna, Doug Keyes, Isaac Layman, and Susan Seubert participate in a half-day program discussing photography’s role in fine art and commercial imagery. Rebecca Cummins, Associate Professor at University of Washington School of Art, moderates a panel conversation.
Cost is $10 and includes museum admission; $5 for members and students with ID. Email Education@TacomaArtMuseum.org to reserve your seat.


Thumbnails, from top:

Isaac Layman, “Bookcase,” 2006, archival inkjet print
Michael Kenna, “Skyline, Study 3, Shanghai, China,” 2008, gelatin silver print
Susan Seubert, “Mask,” tintype
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