Through The Looking Glass – Portland Art Museum

January 18th, 2012

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this excellent exhibition curated by Julia Dolan. Julia has pulled together a wonderful cross section of work from the museum’s permanent collection featuring a broad range of artists, famous as well lesser known, even including a couple of old friends, from deep into the history of the medium to present day.

In her introduction to the exhibit she states “As the works on view make clear, windows, mirrors, and doorways in photographs function at times as purely visual devices and at others as metaphors for substantial concepts. Whether transparent or opaque, they serve as gateways to guide viewers toward new and ever-changing territory, in both our interior and exterior worlds.”

So of course I came home with the thought to reconsider my own use of windows, doorways and mirrors. An examination of my portrait work will reveal that I often use windows as a compositional element, often placing a window in the background or even directly behind the subject. In another body of work, I have photographed through the window of my car, often in motion, sometimes using the window itself as part of the composition.

Here’s some of my own examples from over the years:

Prague, 1987

Hong Kong, 1995

Copper Canyon, 1986

Romania, 1987

Romania, 1987

Texas, 2005

Oregon, 2008

Anyway, I could go on. Given that I’m no art critic, please don’t take this a formal review of the show. I just wanted to encourage anyone to take time go see it. The point being I think Julia has curated an excellent show around a universal theme. Take time to go see it if you’re in Portland. On display thorough February.