Eugene Richards, Dorothea
In the gallery…

On Mortality
and Beauty

January 8 – April 4, 2015
Reception: Thursday, January 15, 6-8 PM
Members preview: 5 pm

Artists: Robert Adams, Keith Carter, Catherine Chalmers, Larry Fink, Eikoh Hosoe, Bill Jacobson, Isaac Layman, Nancy LeVine, Richard Misrach, Nicholas Nixon, Sylvia Plachy, Eugene Richards, Hank Willis Thomas, Phillip Toledano, Joel-Peter Witkin, and David Wojnarowicz.

Terminal: On Mortality and Beauty is an exhibition curated by Michelle Dunn Marsh, on view January 8–April 5, 2015.

Of the artists featured in Terminal, most contend with mortality in the natural world and in the passage of human life as ongoing concerns in their work. These photographs provoke the viewer to confront death while also making room for beauty and remembrance. “Terminal” is, in medical terms, associated with an illness that will directly result in death; as a noun, it references a space of passage or transition. Between these two definitions lies a broad range of philosophies regarding death as a moment of finality, or as the initiation to reincarnation, an afterlife, or a portion of the cycle of regeneration from decay.

Dunn Marsh, PCNW’s executive director and curator for this exhibition, says: “With the exception of the recent outcry over Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s tragic murders, we have in large part become desensitized to the repetition of violent imagery in the media (as well as in entertainment areas such as film and music). So I have selected photographers and photographs to provoke contemplation of the mysteries of life and death and rituals around this transition.”

From Dead Animals #79 (from Richard Misrach’s Desert Cantos series) to Eikoh Hosoe’s photographs of writer Yukio Mishima seven years prior to Mishima’s ritual suicide, from Phillip Toledano’s moving portrait with his father to Sylvia Plachy’s lifelike momento mori of a gopher, Terminal highlights photography’s ability to explore and to bear witness to the vulnerability of life in transition.

PCNW is grateful to Nion McEvoy, Mendoza and Associates in memory of Richard Mendoza, Reed Longyear, Malnati, Ahrens PLLC, and donors to PCNW for supporting this exhibition.


PCNW will partner with Seattle University’s Masters in Pastoral Ministry department and others on outreach programming. The exhibition will include a response room where viewers may share responses to the work, and leave notes or images in remembrance of beloved people and places. A 10-week educational course, Longing: Exploring Notions of Beauty and the Sublime, taught by Seattle multimedia artist  Erin Elyse Burns will specifically engage with work in the exhibition.

Conversations on Mortality
Tuesday, January 27th | 6:30pm at PCNW Auditorium
Five professionals discuss how they navigate conversations with their constituencies around topics often shrouded in mystery and fear.

Panelists include Trudy James, multi-faith, multi-purpose chaplain and owner of Heartwork; Michael Longyear, attorney at Reed Longyear Malnati & Ahrens, PLLC; Rebecca Cobb, clinical coordinator and professor in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University; and Jugal Thakor, priest at Bellevue Hindu Temple.

Spaces of Death
Tuesday, February 24th | 6:30pm at PCNW Auditorium
Five panelists discuss working as advocates for the health of a community, an individual, race, environment, landscape, or city through their art or careers.

Panelists include Jennifer Jones, independent filmmaker and photographer; artist Greg Lundgren of Lundgren Monuments; and Kathy Long, executive director at People’s Memorial.


Robert Adams was born in New Jersey in 1937, and moved to Colorado as a teenager. Adams was a professor of English literature for several years before turning his full attention to photography in the mid 1970s. His work is largely concerned with moments of regional transition: the suburbanization of Denver, a changing Los Angeles of the 1970s and 1980s, and the clear-cutting in Oregon in the 1990s.

His many books, well-known to those concerned with the American Landscape, include The New West, From the Missouri West, Summer Nights, Los Angeles Spring, To Make It Home, Listening to the River, West From the Columbia, What We Bought, Notes for Friends, California, Summer Nights, Walking, Gone?, What Can We Believe Where? and The Place We Live.  Adams has also written a number of critical essays on the art of photography, including Beauty in Photography, Why People Photograph and most recently, Along Some Rivers. Among many awards, Adams has received the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundation fellowships and in 2006, the Deutsche Börse Prize. In 2009, he was awarded the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.

Terminal will include works from Adams’ photographs of clearcuts from Oregon and Washington. Adams is represented by Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Keith Carter holds the Endowed Walles Chair of Art at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He is the recipient of the Texas Medal of Arts, the Lange-Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and the Regent’s Professor Award from the Texas State University System.

His work has been shown in over 100 solo exhibitions in thirteen countries. He is the author of eleven books: Fireflies, A Certain Alchemy, Opera Nuda, Ezekiel’s Horse, Holding Venus, Bones, Mojo, Keith Carter Photographs: Twenty-Five Years, Heaven of Animals, The Blue Man, and From Uncertain to Blue. A DVD documentary of his work titled The Photographer’s Series: Keith Carter was produced by Antropy Arts. Carter’s work is included in numerous private and public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, George Eastman House, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University. Carter has been a featured artist at PCNW.

Terminal will include portraits Carter made of his mother toward the end of her life. Carter is represented by G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle; Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, and others.

Catherine Chalmers holds a B.S. in Engineering from Stanford University and an M.F.A. in Painting from the Royal College of Art in London. She has exhibited her artwork around the world, including MoMA P.S.1, New York; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Kunsthalle Basel; Kunsthalle Vienna; MOCA Taipei; among others. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Time Out New York, Art- News and Artforum. She has been featured on PBS, CNN, NPR, and the BBC. Two books have been published on her work: FOOD CHAIN (Aperture 2000) and AMERICAN COCKROACH (Aperture 2004). Her video “Safari” received a Jury Award (Best Experimental Short) at SXSW Film Festival in 2008. In 2010 Chalmers received at Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives and works in New York City.

Larry Fink is a professional photographer of 50 years. He has had one man shows at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Musee de la Lausanne Photographie in Belgium, and the Musee de l’Elysee in Switzerland, amongst others. He shows in galleries regularly in New York, Los Angeles, and Paris, France. Along with two John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships in 1976 and 1979, and two National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Photography Fellowships in 1978 and 1986, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the College for Creative Studies, College of Art and Design, Detroit, 2002. He has been teaching for the past 45 years, the last 20 years as a professor of photography at Bard College.

The pieces in Terminal bring together photographs of Pat Sabatine in state (a primary subject of his first published book, Social Graces) and his most recent work, Kindred Spirits, focused on a family raising their own food in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Fink is represented by Marcello Marvelli Gallery, New York.

Eikoh Hosoe was born in Yonezawa, Yamagata in 1933 and graduated from Tokyo College of Photography in 1951. His approach to photography is philosophical, “… To me photography can be simultaneously both a record and a mirror or window of self-expression… The camera is generally assumed to be unable to depict that which is not visible to the eye and yet, the photographer who wields it well can depict what lies unseen in his memory.” Renowned Japanese author, Yukio Mishima wrote of Hosoe’s photographs, “God is dead, and naked human beings face the world shameless and without pride.”

Hosoe exhibited his first show in 1965 and  has since been exhibited in such significant institutions as the International Center of Photography and Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Nikon Salon, Tokyo; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Smithsonian, Washington D. C. Published works include: Man and Woman, 1959, Embrace, 1971, The Cosmos of Gaudi, 1986 and Eikoh Hosoe, 1986, among numerous others. He has been a professor of photography at Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics since 1975 teaching various photography workshops worldwide.

Bill Jacobson is widely known for his out of focus photographs of both the figure and the landscape.  His work is in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and many others.  In 2012, he was the recipient of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

He began his signature, indistinct images in 1989, and has since been exhibiting in galleries and museums throughout the US and Europe.  These early works, titled Interim Portraits, feature shadowy, pale figures that evoke the loss experienced by many during the height of the AIDS epidemic. The blurred subjects underline the futility of capturing a true human likeness in both portraiture and memory.

Jacobson’s most recent body of work entitled Place (Series) explores minimal, still-life images as the result of placing rectangles of various sizes in a variety of man-made and natural settings, suggesting both a variety of architectures and the contradictions between architecture and nature. They echo Jacobson’s earlier work, with their dialogue between the abstract and the real, and implied notions of the infinite.

Isaac Layman is a graduate of the University of Washington. Layman’s work has appeared in Lifelike, at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN) second nature: abstract photography then and now, at the De-Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum (Lincoln, MA), and Paradise, a solo show at the Frye Art Museum (Seattle, WA). Layman’s works are included in numerous private and public collections, including the Frye Art Museum, the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA), the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse (Miami, FL), the Monsen Collection of Photography (Seattle, WA), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX), the Norton Museum of Art (West Palm Beach, FL), the Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), the Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA), the Tacoma Art Museum (Tacoma, WA) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN).

Nancy LeVine is an award winning photographer who has travelled worldwide on a variety of assignments. Her project ‘Senior Dogs Across America’ is featured on a number of blogs including The New York Times LENS Blog and Lens Culture. A

solo show of this work opened at the Houston Center for Photography in 2012. A Dog’s Book of Truths is her first monograph. Nancy has worked with David Horsey, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, on a multimedia series, ‘Escape Into America’ for
MSNBC.com. It received over one million views. American Photography Annual website as well as in gallery shows in New York and Seattle. Nancy completed her Master of Arts degree at NYU/ICP. She currently lives in New York and Seattle where she does assignment work and is working on new photographic projects.

Richard Misrach helped pioneer the renaissance of color photography and large-scale presentation in the 1970s that are in widespread practice today. Best known for his ongoing series, Desert Cantos, a multi-faceted approach to the study of place and man’s complex relationship to it, he has worked in the landscape for over 40 years. Other notable bodies of work include his documentation of the industrial corridor along the Mississippi River known as “Cancer Alley”, the study of weather, time, color and light in his serial photographs of the Golden Gate bridge, and On The Beach, an aerial perspective of human interaction and isolation. In fall 2012 and in collaboration with landscape architect Kate Orff, Misrach launched a major book and exhibition, Petrochemical America, which addresses the health and environmental issues associated with our dependency on oil. Misrach has had one-person exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Henry Art Gallery, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, among others. A mid-career traveling survey was organized by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in 1996. His photographs are held in the collections of most major institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle.

Nicholas Nixon  is known for the ease and intimacy of his black and white large format photography.  Nixon has photographed porch life in the rural south, schools in and around Boston, cityscapes, sick and dying people, the intimacy of couples, and the ongoing annual portrait of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters (which he began in 1975).  Recording his subjects close and with meticulous detail facilitates the connection between the viewer and the subject. Nixon has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and two Guggenheim Fellowships.  In 2005 Nixon had a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Cincinnati Art Museum.  In 2006, Nixon’s ongoing portrait of the Brown sisters was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas.  In 2010, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston exhibited Nicholas Nixon: Family Album, through May 2011.  In Summer 2013 Nixon’s book Close Far was released by Steidl. The body of work explores the relationship of the self in physical and psychological proximity to the urban landscape. Nixon’s work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among many others.

Sylvia Plachy was born in Budapest and lives in New York City. She spent thirty years as the staff photographer for the Village Voice and is the only newspaper photographer to have had her own column. She was also the first photographer assigned to shoot the opening photograph of the legendary Goings On About Town section of The New Yorker. She has received a Guggenheim, had multiple solo museum shows and published seven monographs of her work.

Eugene Richards studied photography with Minor White at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1968 he joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and was assigned to eastern Arkansas, where he helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, Many Voices, that reported on black political action and the violence of the Ku Klux Klan.

After publication of his first two books, Richards began working as a freelance magazine photographer, undertaking assignments on such diverse topics as the American family, drug addiction, river blindness, pediatric AIDS, abuses within the meatpacking industry, and aging and death in America.

Among numerous honors, Richards has won the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Leica Medal of Excellence, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Journalism Award for coverage of the disadvantaged. Richards’s photographs have been exhibited in more than 40 solo shows in the United States and abroad.

Terminal will include Richards’ photographs from his book Exploding Into Life, which chronicles his first wife Dorothea Lynch’s struggle with breast cancer, as well as never-before-exhibited images by Dorothea following her diagnosis.

Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received his BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and his MFA in photography, along with an MA in visual criticism, from California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco.

Thomas’ monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Aperture in 2008.  He received a new media fellowship through the Tribeca Film Institute and was an artist in residence at John Hopkins University. In 2011, Thomas was a fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

Terminal will feature two never-before-exhibited pieces from Studio X, Willis Thomas’s exploration of memorial t-shirts in a community experiencing a high rate of young black people dying, usually due to violence. Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City and Goodman Gallery in South Africa; as a collaborating artist of Question Bridge, he was featured at PCNW in January 2014.

Phillip Toledano was born in 1968 in London, to a French Moroccan mother and an American father. His work varies in medium from photography to installation, sculpture and painting. Five monographs of his work have been published, the most recent of which is The Reluctant Father. He received international attention for the personal and poignant series Days With My Father, chronicling the end of his father’s life and the process of caring for a dying parent.

Terminal will include photographs from Days With My Father and from a new series related to memory and mortality.

Joel-Peter Witkin‘s images of the human condition are undeniably powerful. For more than forty years he has pursued his interest in spirituality and how it impacts the physical world in which we exist. Finding beauty within the grotesque, Witkin pursues this complex issue through people most often cast aside by society — human spectacles including hermaphrodites, dwarfs, amputees, androgynes, carcases, people with odd physical capabilities, fetishists and “any living myth … anyone bearing the wounds of Christ.” His fascination with other people’s physicality has inspired works that confront our sense of normalcy and decency. Terminal will include at least two works by Joel-Peter Witkin; Witkin is represented by Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago.

David Wojnarowicz  was a painted, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and activist who was prominent in the New York City art world of the 1980s.

Wojnarowicz was born in Red Bank, New Jersey in 1954. The product of an extremely difficult childhood brought on by an abusive family life and an emerging sense of his own homosexuality, Wojnarowicz dropped out of high school and was living on the streets by the age of sixteen. He turned to hustling in Times Square. After hitchhiking many times across the U.S. and living for several months in San Francisco and Paris, he settled in New York’s East Village in 1978.

Many of Wojnarowicz’ works incorporate outsider experiences drawn from his personal history and from stories he heard from the people he met in bus stations and truck stops while hitchhiking. By the late 1970s he had, in his own words, “started developing ideas of making and preserving an authentic version of history in the form of images/writings/objects that would contest state-supported forms of ‘history.'” In such diverse works as Sounds in the Distance (1982), a collection of monologues from “people who lived and worked in the streets” and The Weight of the Earth, Part I & II (1988), an arrangement of black-and-white photographs taken during his travels and life in New York, Wojnarowicz continually returned to the personal voices of individuals stigmatized by society

Image Header: Eugene Richards, Dorothea, (detail)