David Mattox c 2013

David Mattox c 2013

Inaugural Exhibition

FEBRUARY 13 - MARCH 22

 

BARBAROUS COASTS

David Mattox

Neal Rantoul

 

David Mattox and Neal Rantoul have gone to the ends of the earth to create images that are compellingly other worldly and surprising.

 
Neal Rantoul c 2013

Neal Rantoul c 2013

 

"Barbarous Coasts" Reviews:

Lenscratch, Aline Smithson- "555 Gallery: Barbarous Coasts"

What Will You Remember?, Elin Spring- "Picture This!"

What Will You Remember?, Elin Spring- "Barbarous Coasts"

The New Yorker- "Slide Show Along Barbarous Coasts"

 

David Mattox, a newcomer to professional photography, is the owner and captain of a commercial salmon fishing operation on the Upper Cook Inlet in Alaska.  Fish Camp is an ongoing series of photographs documenting the life and the work that this entails.  “I have worked in this camp for a decade, first for 4 years as a deckhand, and since 2008, as a permit holder, captain and owner of my own small operation. In 10 summers spent in Alaska, of all the things I have pointed my camera at, I have become most drawn to make pictures of the people that I work with because I find the allure of Alaska’s character more prominently displayed there than anywhere else on the faces of the individuals that live its narrative season after season. This character ultimately gives view to a cultural landscape that plays out on one of the greatest stages of land, water, and horizon that I have been privileged to witness.”

Neal Rantoul, a well known and beloved Boston photographer, an emeritus professor, was head of the photography program at Northeastern University for thirty years and taught for thirteen years at Harvard University. With the boundless energy of the recently retired, Rantoul brings us to the shockingly abstract rocky cliffs of Hofsos, Iceland to bring us his newest series Rock. “In July 2013 I was awarded a one month artist-in-residency at the Baer Art Center in Hofsos, Iceland. The photographs here at 555 Gallery are part of my response to living in a supremely beautiful and special place, where in July it is light 23 hours a day.”


555 Gallery director and curator Susan Nalband with photograph from Neal Rantoul’s series, “Iceland Rock” 

555 Gallery director and curator Susan Nalband with photograph from Neal Rantoul’s series, “Iceland Rock” 

What would you choose to exhibit, to set the tone for a brand new gallery?  In all its forms, art aspires to be transporting.  Sometimes, it opens new worlds to us.  And when it’s most effective, it touches us emotionally.  Susan Nalband, director and curator of the newly opened 555 Gallery in South Boston, found inspiration for her gallery’s inaugural exhibit from “Moby Dick” author, Herman Melville.

 “Barbarous Coasts” presents the work of two photographers David Mattox and Neal Rantoul, who have gone to the ends of the earth to create images that illustrate the rapturous beauty of the sea, its adjacent landscape and people.  Ms. Nalband recalls, “when I first saw these breathtaking photos I was reminded of Melville’s famed quote, ‘I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.’, which I feel best articulates the work of these two photographers, David Mattox is the captain of his own licensed salmon net fishing camp in Alaska. His collection, “Fish Camp,” is an ongoing series of photographs documenting his decade long work on the Upper Cook Inlet of Alaska.  Mattox explains, “In ten summers spent in Alaska, of all the things I have pointed my camera at, I have become most drawn to make pictures of the people that I work with because I find the allure of Alaska’s character more prominently displayed there than anywhere else.”

From the series, “Fish Camp”, archival digital print by David Mattox, 2013 David Mattox is the captain of his own licensed salmon net fishing camp in Alaska. His collection, “Fish Camp,” is an ongoing series of photographs documenting his decade long work on the Upper Cook Inlet of Alaska.  Mattox explains, “In ten summers spent in Alaska, of all the things I have pointed my camera at, I have become most drawn to make pictures of the people that I work with because I find the allure of Alaska’s character more prominently displayed there than anywhere else.”

From the series, “Fish Camp”, archival digital print by David Mattox, 2013

David Mattox is the captain of his own licensed salmon net fishing camp in Alaska. His collection, “Fish Camp,” is an ongoing series of photographs documenting his decade long work on the Upper Cook Inlet of Alaska.  Mattox explains, “In ten summers spent in Alaska, of all the things I have pointed my camera at, I have become most drawn to make pictures of the people that I work with because I find the allure of Alaska’s character more prominently displayed there than anywhere else.”

From the series, “Fish Camp”, archival digital print by David Mattox, 2013 Indeed, in Mattox’s images, his subjects provide the literal and figurative color, framed against the rustic backdrop of the Alaskan coastline.  Their figures are set against the elements in dynamic compositions that combine with their bright clothing and direct expressions to reflect the hard work and hard play emblematic of their lives in the camp.  The theme of perseverance in a remote setting, often as tedious as it can be harsh, is evident in Mattox’s portraits of enduring human spirit.

From the series, “Fish Camp”, archival digital print by David Mattox, 2013

Indeed, in Mattox’s images, his subjects provide the literal and figurative color, framed against the rustic backdrop of the Alaskan coastline.  Their figures are set against the elements in dynamic compositions that combine with their bright clothing and direct expressions to reflect the hard work and hard play emblematic of their lives in the camp.  The theme of perseverance in a remote setting, often as tedious as it can be harsh, is evident in Mattox’s portraits of enduring human spirit.

From the series, “Iceland Rock”, archival digital print by Neal Rantoul, 2013

From the series, “Iceland Rock”, archival digital print by Neal Rantoul, 2013

Neal Rantoul, a prize-winning Boston landscape photographer, recently completed an artist-in-residency program in Hofsos, Iceland, resulting in his newest series, “Iceland Rock”.  Rantoul has a distinctive way of combining viewpoint, scale and geological terrain to present the Icelandic landscape in a way that is at once detailed and expansive, serene and powerful.

Rantoul routinely renders much more familiar landscapes, like wheat fields and mountainsides, with graceful magnificence.  What he is able to achieve with the far more unusual geologic structures in Iceland is quite astounding.  I’ve sometimes commented disparagingly on the “new normal” of outsized gallery prints, but Rantoul’s landscapes both demand and deserve this larger scale – they can take your breath away.

From the series, “Iceland Rock”, archival digital prints by Neal Rantoul, 2013

From the series, “Iceland Rock”, archival digital prints by Neal Rantoul, 2013

  “Barbarous Coasts” will be exhibited at 555 Gallery in South Boston through March 22nd, 2014.  A public reception and gallery talk with Neal Rantoul will be held on March 15th from 5-8PM.