Targeted July 14 — September 1, 2017

Garrett O. Hansen

A memorial both honors and reminds.  A desire to honor often drives the initial construction of a memorial; over time, remembrance takes on ever increasing importance.  In the immediate aftermath of a tragedy we believe we will never forget, but as generations pass, so too do memories.  This newest body of work takes on the role of a memorial and confronts one of the most pressing, ongoing social issues in America – gun violence.

No matter what side of the gun rights debate you are on, there is a collective acknowledgement that guns occupy a unique place within our history and contemporary culture. Over the past two and a half years, I have been developing a body of work that speaks to this issue and attempts to create a space for dialogue around it.  The newest component to this ongoing series is entitled Memorial.  Each piece documents gun deaths in a particular place and for a particular length of time.  The first incarnation of this work entitled Memorial – Kentucky, 2016 is comprised of twelve panels.  Each panel represents a single month in Kentucky and records every homicide involving a gun that occurred during that month.  

Most recently, I have turned to Chicago, which has received national attention for its dramatic rise in gun violence over the past two years.  While much of America has witnessed steep declines in violent crime, Chicago is struggling with one of the largest upticks in murders in its history.   Of the 786 homicides reported by the Chicago Tribune in 2016, over 90% involved a gun.  These newest pieces attempt to record those lost lives and remind all of us the incredibly high price we pay to have such a heavily armed population.

Omar Imam

Live, Love, Refugee examines the mental state of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, asking how relations and dreams are affected by conflict and displacement. It is a visual evocation of the pain and desire of Syrians who struggle to survive in their new land.

The people I met are in the worst possible conditions, but they have the desire to continue being human.

I chose to make photographs that employ symbolism and surrealism in an attempt to approach the psychological situation of my subjects. I wanted to disrupt the audience’s expectations of images of refugees and to present them with questions rather than answers.

For me this is the best way to express this horrible experience. It gives viewers the ability to imagine horrific and over-photographed (but under-seen) cases like the Syrian situation, where every related story is a copy of a copy of a copy. I like to surprise the audience without being aggressive, avoiding the low hanging fruit of political reaction and focus instead on a deeper human perspective.

Colleen Plumb

Path Infinitum explores the complexities and contradictions of keeping wild animals in captivity and raises questions about what it means to participate as a spectator. Kept on display in the center of cities, outside of their natural habitats, animals can be seen pacing, circling, and rocking to cope with the stress of living in an unnatural environment. Signaling power imbalance and consumption disguised as curiosity, Path Infinitum displays a range of captive animals exhibiting abnormal behaviors, along with moments of awareness of spectators reflected in the glass that divides the species. The impulse to connect with or observe wild animals is surely rooted in admiration and fascination, but yields a feast of contradiction.  

I've been able to consider the wide horizontal gallery windows to create 2-channel diptychs that focus on image sequence and speak as spreads in a book. Aware of the tremendous need to protect wild places and those that live there, I hope this project contributes to the idea that sentient beings are not meant for spectacle in any form; instead we aim to walk a path that is progressive and humane.

Many species right now are extremely vulnerable due to human consumption as well as habitat loss caused by climate change. Is captivity an answer to the imminent loss? Or can threatened species survive and be effectively protected so that they live and thrive in their natural habitats? Experts agree that likely no enclosure is sufficient for the widest-ranging animals. Do we take animals for granted if we are able to see them so easily in captivity, and when they exhibit unnatural behaviors in captivity (as is most often the case), do we accept this as normal? Existing models of captivity and display are ultimately not meant to serve the animals but rather the humans that watch them. There are powerful myths surrounding animals, and these nostalgic or sacred connections seem to be driving humans to devour them to their very disappearance. 

Path Infinitum has grown out of my ongoing project, Thirty Times a Minute, which explores elephants in captivity. I’ve installed over seventy public video projections of Thirty Times a Minute (12 min, color, sound) since 2014 in Chicago, Portland, Detroit, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Upper Peninsula Michigan, New York, Berlin, Vienna, and Paris. In the video dozens of captive elephants are caught in unending cycles of movement, bearing the weight of an unnatural existence in their small enclosures. Traveling to over sixty zoos in the US and Europe, I filmed animals exhibiting what biologists refer to as stereotypy, a behavior only seen in captive animals, which includes rhythmic rocking, swaying, head bobbing, stepping back and forth and pacing. Path Infinitum looks at elephants along with many other animals exhibiting stereotypy or despondence due to lack of adequate mental stimulation or an inability to engage in natural activities.

Every day the news about Syria is dire, as the country finds itself in a civil war with no apparent end. As of today, 6.6 million people have been displaced and the number keeps rising. More than 400,000 people have been murdered, and hundreds of thousands more have been severely beaten, starved and detained. More than 17,000 people have died in Syrian prisons, as a result of torture or inhumane conditions, and another 13,000 sentenced to death. The horror in Syria is now entering its 6th year, as the government seems to be systematically annihilating its people.

 

In 2012, Syrian activist turned photographer Omar Imam (b. 1979, Damascus) was kidnapped and tortured by a militia and only let go when a friend intervened. Soon after, Imam left Damascus with his parents and wife, settling in Beirut where he and his wife started a family. In 2016, he moved to Amsterdam, where he currently resides. His family recently received paperwork that will finally allow them to join him.

 

Live, Love, Refugee is Imam’s photographic response to the chaos erupting in his homeland. In refugee camps across Lebanon, Imam collaborated with Syrians to create photographs that talked about their reality, rather than presenting them as a simple statistic. As a refugee himself, Imam understands the loss and chaos of being displaced from ones home. But dreams cannot be eradicated -- dreams of escape, dreams of love, and dreams of terror. These dreams are what Imam set out to capture. The resulting images peel back the façade of flight, to reveal the spirit of those who persevere, despite losing everything that was familiar. These composed photographs challenge our perception of victimization, offering access into the heart and soul of humanity.

 

In the United States, roughly 40% of households own a firearm. There are enough guns—approximately 300 million—to arm nearly every man, woman, and child in the country. This statistic is at the core of work being done by Garrett O. Hansen (b. 1979, NYC). In 2013, Hansen moved from Indonesia to teach at the University of Kentucky. It was in Lexington that the prevalence of gun culture caught his attention and became the focus of his work. He began making weekly visits to a local gun range and collecting the cardboard pieces that sit behind familiar targets of a generic unarmed silhouette. Each shooter is given a fresh target, while the backings slowly erode from the rounds shot at the figures chest and head. In Silhouette, Hansen brings these pieces of cardboard into the darkroom, where he creates full sized contact prints of them. These photographs are then scanned and form the basis for the final pieces that are made of mirrored Plexiglas and represent a one-to-one replica of the original cardboard backings. As viewers approach the piece, they see their own reflections hollowed out by the countless bullets. Through this series, Hansen seeks to engage the viewer in a broader discussion about gun culture in America. 

According to available data, 2016 was the deadliest year in the city of Chicago since 1997. A huge uptick in violence resulted in 723 gun deaths… the highest of any city. The entire state of Kentucky had 278. In his newest series Memorial, Hansen examines these statistics by physically shooting pieces of paper multiple times, from which he creates gelatin silver prints, mirroring the number of gun deaths in each month. A comparison between Chicago and Kentucky will be on view. Through pieces of paper riddled with bullet holes, Hansen illuminates the heavy price of an armed civilian population.

 

Most people encounter endangered animals in a zoo, behind protective glass or a large moat. Designed to educate, preserve and foster conservationism, zoos have come under fire by animal rights activists who question the welfare of captured animals in an artificial environment. Colleen Plumb (b. 1970, Chicago) tackles these issues in Path Infinitum, a video projection that explores the complexities and contradictions of keeping wild animals in captivity and raises questions about our participation as a spectator.

 

Traveling to more than 60 zoos in the U.S. and Europe, Plumb filmed animals exhibiting stereotypy, a behavior only seen in captive animals, which includes rhythmic rocking, swaying, head bobbing, stepping back and forth and pacing. Path Infinitum looks at elephants, lions, and polar bears, along with many other animals that exhibit stereotypy or hopelessness due to lack of adequate mental stimulation or an inability to engage in natural activities. As more and more animals face extinction due to human consumption, sport and profit, Plumb raises questions that are meant to provoke discussion and raise awareness about endangered species.

 

Omar Imam is an Amsterdam-based, Syrian photographer and filmmaker. In his photographic works, Imam uses irony and a conceptual approach to respond to the violent situation in Syria, often publishing his work under a pseudonym. After leaving Damascus in late 2012, he began making fictional short films that often focus on the Syrian refugee experience. Individually and with NGOs, he has produced films, photographic projects, and workshops for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In April 2017 he received the Tim Hetherington Visionary Award.

 

Garrett O. Hansen graduated from Grinnell College in 2002, where he studied economics and political science. He completed his MFA in photography at Indiana University in 2010, and has taught at several universities in the United States and in Asia; he is now an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Kentucky. Hansen has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Indonesia, and Japan.

Colleen Plumb works in photography, video, public installation, and object making, tackling the relationship between animals and humans. Her work is held in several permanent collections and has been widely exhibited nationally. Her video projections have taken her from the Grand Teton National Park to Berlin, Paris, New Mexico, and most recently to New York City, where she projected Path Infinitum onto the doors of Pier 94 during The Photography Show, presented by AIPAD.

Digital files of the entire show are available upon request

Please call: (312) 266-2350 for prices of specific pieces.
Prices are print only unless otherwise indicated.


Install Image 1, 2017


Install Image 2, 2017

Video Link

Install Image 3, 2017


Install Image 4, 2017


Install Image 5, 2017


Install Image 6, 2017

Garrett O. Hansen
Silhouette 1, 2017
Video Link
Garrett O. Hansen
Silhouette 3, 2017
Garrett O. Hansen
Silhouette 11, 2017
Garrett O. Hansen
Kentucky, June (Detail), 2016
Garrett O. Hansen
Kentucky, April (Detail), 2016
Garrett O. Hansen
Kentucky, November (Detail), 2016
Garrett O. Hansen
Chicago, June (Detail), 2016
Garrett O. Hansen
Chicago, April (Detail), 2016
Garrett O. Hansen
Chicago, November (Detail), 2016
Garrett O. Hansen
Kentucky, 2016
Garrett O. Hansen
Chicago Memorial, 2016
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [there was only grass]
Video Link
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [found myself in narrow places]
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [scarecrow]
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [my wife is blind]
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [car technician not a doctor]
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [privacy in Syria]
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [testicles are in danger]
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [I felt safer when I listen to music]
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [I'm afraid of the blank]
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [I wish to become a dragon]
Omar Imam
Untitled, 2015 [we are making one team]

Omar Imam
, 2015

Video Link
Colleen Plumb
Drumbo (Vienna, Austria) at Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, 2016

Video Link
Colleen Plumb
Guida (Seattle, Washington) at Volkstheater, Vienna, Austria, 2016
Colleen Plumb
Sunda (Topeka, Kansas) at Train Bridge, North Branch Chicago River, Chicago, Illinois, 2016
Colleen Plumb
Video Projection, 2017
Video Link
Colleen Plumb
Video Projection, 2017