A GROUP EXHIBITION BY THE PUSH/PULL ARTIST COLLECTIVE
ON VIEW: APRIL 29 – JUNE 10, 2021
PANEL DISCUSSION: MAY 1, 2021
There is a growing sense that opposing movements—one toward ideals of freedom, the other toward increasing restrictions一are approaching an inflection point. Social and economic classes are polarizing, public rhetoric doesn’t reflect lived reality, and rapid technological change eases as much as it restrains. The collective feeling is that things have turned inside out. In this exhibition, works from the push/pull collective explore where ideals of nature and community persist against the realities of decay and enclosure. Traditional landscapes and interiors give way to tensions between nature and built environments, in whose margins communities adapt and survive.
Featuring work by Tara Champion, Michael Clements, Andrej Gregov, Elisa Huerta-Enochian, Chris Letcher, Jon MacLaren, Susan MacLaren, Helen Miller, Anna Ream, Jenny Riffle, and Seth Thompson.
Curatorial note, 2021—Our exhibition was postponed from its original date in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reflecting on the theme now, it seems eerily prescient—and still relevant. The pandemic continues, we are learning how deeply fractured our political environment has become (aided by increasing technocratization), as we reckon with its inequitable fallout.
Formed in 2016, push/pull is a collective of Seattle artists working with the formal process of creating photographs. The name refers to traditional film development techniques and to the discourse and exchange of ideas between group members that is the group’s purpose. Activities include monthly meetings to engage in critical dialogue about works-in-progress and planning and realizing ensemble projects and exhibitions. A primary concern is the challenge of producing meaningful photographic artworks as the medium undergoes a radical shift from material to digital production—where the production and distribution of imagery occurs almost simultaneously, and the proliferation of digital image-making risks overwhelming the salience of photographic imagery broadly. Formal questions inherent to artistic production and questions about the ways that printed photographs continue to engage viewers inform the development of individual and group work. Although the artists in push/pull work in a wide variety of methods and subject matter, the collective work tends toward the exploration of landscapes and place, where perceived absence and stillness are charged with a presence that invites lingering.
Inside Out: A Conversation with Members of the Push/Pull Collective
Saturday, May 1: 12:00pm
The Power of the Collective
Community and collaboration can be critical to artistic development and the creative process; during the last year this has never felt more relevant. Join us on May 1st for a conversation with members of the push/pull collective as they discuss their approach to collaboration, critique, technique, and production. We will explore their photographic processes, the curation of Inside Out, and how the collective has adapted over time and amidst the pandemic. Directly preceding this event is an informational session on our Certificate Program, which many of the panelists are alumni or faculty of.
Tara Champion is a Seattle-based photographer working within the themes of environmental conservation and biological visualization. She holds a M.S. in Biological Photography and Imaging from the University of Nottingham, and a B.A. in photography as well as a B.S. in Biology from Seattle University. With her unique cross-disciplinary background she responds to scientific findings in a visual manner with particular interest in birds and climate change. Her work has been published and written about in the U.S. and abroad and viewed in exhibit spaces in the Northwest.
Michael Clements is a photographer existing in Seattle Washington.
Andrej Gregov is a photographer based in Seattle, Washington. His primary focuses are exploring the built and natural environments. Contemporary architecture is a special long-term focus and interest area. His work is produced using traditional analog capture and printing techniques including silver, c-print and alternative processes. Andrej is a contributor to A Minimal Event, a podcast about art photography. He is also a member of the push/pull photography group, a collective of Seattle artists working with the formal process of creating Photographs.
Elisa Huerta-Enochian is an artist and photographer born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She explores identity and memories through her images.
Chris Letcher is an intermedia artist who grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He has a degree in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This led to a Certificate in Photography from Photographic Center Northwest. Letcher’s formal concerns are minimalist, his thematic concerns eschatological. For many years he has been surveying the economic devastation in Detroit and his hometown of Tucumcari, New Mexico. He has exhibited most recently at Pottery Northwest, Northwest Film Forum and Photographic Center Northwest. Apparently, he’s based in the Northwest.
Jon MacLaren is a photographer based in south Seattle, Washington. Jon moved to Seattle ten years ago from the UK. He graduated from the PCNW certificate program in 2014. Currently, he is working on two projects: one using images taken in the dark, damp forests of the Pacific Northwest; the other using shots taken out of the car window while traveling.
Susan MacLaren is a photographer and Small Business Communication Consultant based in Seattle, WA. She holds a BA in Photography and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Communication at the University of Washington. She is a member of the push/pull Photography Collective and uses her work to focus on the interplay of environment, light, and memory.
Helen Miller lives and works in Seattle, WA. She has a B.S. in psychology from the University of Washington, a Master’s in philosophy from St. John’s College, and is a Ph.D. candidate in art and philosophy at the European Graduate School. She is a member of the push/pull and Minimal Event photography collectives.
Anna Ream is a conceptual and documentary portrait photographer based in Issaquah. She is a 2014 graduate of the PCNW certificate program and has a BA from Wellesley College. Her work has been exhibited nationally and has been featured on websites internationally including Lenscratch, TODAY.com, The Daily Mail (U.K.), and in print in Germany. In addition to push/pull, she is a member of the Fotofemmes collective.
Jenny Riffle graduated from Bard College in 2001 with a BA in Photography; she received her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in 2011. Riffle works with narrative portraiture and landscapes that explore the psychological essence of a person or place. Her current work explores the power of nature in the Pacific Northwest. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally, and she has been featured in, and has photographed for, numerous publications worldwide. A book of her collaborative self portraits It’s Raining… I Love You was published in 2020 by Minor Matters Books and her monograph Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting was published by Zatara Press in 2015. Riffle’s awards include Artist Trust’s GAP, FotoFilmic’s BMNF Award, The Pilkington Prize, PDN’s 30, and the Aaron Siskind Foundation Grant.
Seth Thompson taught color at the Photographic Center from 1999 to 2014. He studied English and Film History (MA) and Painting (MFA) at the University of Oregon. He has worked on a series of interior images of rural Mexico and Cuba, as well as a series of night images, mostly of Seattle. He has shown locally and internationally.