Two Views West: Images by Gary Pycior and Erin Lindsay Dodson
By virtue of rivers, trails, railroads, and highways, Kansas City has historically been a crossroads to the West, which has always represented the archetypal American notion of exploration, expansion, and heading toward the frontier. “Two Views West” presents an orientation west of here, featuring the perspectives of Gary Pycior and Erin Lindsay Dodson.
In this exhibition, the photography of Gary Pycior examines the beauty of the untouched nature of the West. Ancient landscapes are captured with evocative clarity. The viewer is invited into scenes of twisted trees, rhythmic striations of rock formations, and natural land bridges delineating cathedral-like open spaces. The long passage of time and process are prominently displayed, creating a perspective of the timeline of our lives in relation to that of the earth itself. It is through his lens that Pycior seems to most comfortably experience such awe-inspiring beauty and inspiration.
By contrast, Erin Lindsay Dodson’s photo-based images investigate the landscape of a tamed frontier. Her images reflect the cohabitation of nature with visible signs of the presence of man. Vegetation, water, and sky are juxtaposed with fences, stone walls, power lines, or effusive smoke from factories. Incorporating “glitches” into each image, Dodson examines the assumptions of the veracity of photography itself. Unwilling to take on the burden of documenting actual “truths,” she presents interruptions in the image as a means of asking the viewer not to overlook the limitations of the medium.
Photography, by its nature, compresses “reality” into condensed information, which the viewer then unzips. Pycior’s images pull the viewer into the scenes, inviting us to ponder our place in them, and thus, the world. Dodson’s images push the viewer back a little, inviting us to be skeptical about the authenticity of photography. These two views west offer contrasting perspectives, not only on their subject, but also on the philosophies of their medium.