Eirik Johnson: Sawdust Mountain
When: September 7 - December 9, 2012
About the Show
Sawdust Mountain is the product of Eirik Johnson’s three-year project photographing Washington, Oregon, and Northern California, focusing on the region’s tenuous relationship between industries reliant upon natural resources—logging and fishing—and the communities they support. Johnson’s exploration of the contemporary Pacific Northwest uncovers a landscape imbued with an uncertain future, no longer the region of boomtowns built upon riches of massive old-growth forests. The environmental impact of the logging industry is often at odds with the modern ideal of a sustainable timber harvest. As the industry declines and mills shut down, the surrounding communities must adapt and turn to improvised means of support.
Johnson describes his photographs as a “melancholy love letter of sorts, my own personal ramblings about a region with which I still very much identify.” Despite his personal, artistic approach, the pictures serve the documentary mission to record a specific time and place, a particular set of conditions endemic to the fraught relationship we have with the environment today, and the way communities are affected by these historic economic complexities.
Sawdust Mountain was organized by Aperture Foundation, New York, and curated by Elizabeth A. Brown, formerly Chief Curator, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. The exhibition is sponsored by the Friends of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Exhibition Fund.