Exhibition: In the Open, Western Gallery, Western Washington University

In the Open

January 4 to March 10, 2017

In the Open brings together an international and multigenerational group of artists who have captured images in public spaces, utilizing the invasive potential of the lens gaze to examine these civic regions. The exhibition spans over 40 years of artists looking at ‘open’ space and how it has been defined, surveilled and controlled.  Often working from a source image to articulate social inequalities, the works in the exhibition consider how we frequently consent to inequitable though legislated conditions. In this way, the project aims to open questions about what is our right to privacy when we are out in the open and how are these locations monitored and regulated.

Our public spaces have become arenas for unprecedented frenzies of digital media. Surveillance cameras and smartphones are capturing images and uploading them from every street corner. As these photos become instantly transferable, finding themselves in internet, print and cable media, questions about the control of these pictures has become amplified. Over the last few decades, artists have anticipated this fervor and recorded the increasingly slippery boundaries of what constitues public or private use and the increased inability to control the contextualization of these images.

Through the artists’ conceptual picture making, questions are posed about what is being photographed when we are out in the open. What is ‘taken’ in these snap shots and why? Analysis of the motivations behind this compulsive production continues to reveal systems of desire, persuasion and control. Boundaries both official and personal are defined through this manipulation, the artists working to picture how these mediating systems articulate the social realities of their individual subjects.

Artists

Michel Auder, Fiona Bowie, Dries Depoorter, Janice Guy, Antonia Hirsch, Ron Jude, Garry Neill Kennedy, Evan Lee, Wanda Nanibush, Roxy Paine, Bettina Pousttchi

https://westerngallery.wwu.edu/open