Northlight Gallery, ASU
October 21 – December 2, 2016
An exhibition curated by William LeGoullon in community collaboration between
Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art (phICA) and the Northlight Gallery at
Arizona State University.
For the first time in human history, more people live in urban environments than rural, yet we continue to insist that we are the guardians and stewards of the land. Contemporary society relies on photography now more than ever to experience the wild and the natural. A confrontational topic, such as hunting, immediately becomes approachable and obtainable. This exhibition focuses on the complex and bizarre narratives encompassed within hunting culture. The opposition and objectification of nature simultaneously mirrors our fragile and romantic communion with environments and the various species of animals they contain. The photographers selected for this exhibition, illustrate raw opinions as diverse in range as the attitudes and beliefs shared between hunters. Whether the artists themselves are active participants or captivated observers, their images depict a correlation between destruction, survival, tradition, and sport.
Once a common subject within art, hunting has changed over time much like its creative portrayal. Whether it is a prehistoric drawing on cave wall, a 16th or 17th century painting, or a contemporary photograph, the “hunt” has historically embodied the idea of predator versus prey. The continual changes however reference its social interpretation and acceptance. The most basic perception concerns the continuity of life through the generation of food, a traditional view of hunting to survive. Be that as it may, it has at certain points in time, been culturally accepted as a sign of dominance, displaying man’s compulsive desire to control nature. Yet today, though commonly argued, it pertains instead to some people’s sense of identity, family recreation, and a desire for a physical and psychological connection to land. Our assimilation into the intimate and unforgiving wild, allows for a curious and beautiful affiliation, and while our relationship to nature is not always understood, we admire its honesty. It’s delicate and frightening, peaceful yet violent. Hunting expresses both an opposition to and an integration with nature all at the same time. A true line in the sand, where one can stand on either side, but also a line so easily blurred with a swift kick.