March 3 – May 1, 2011
Curated by Sarah Stolfa and Christopher Gianunzio
The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is excited to announce East of Eden, a spring exhibition running from March 3rd to May 21st, featuring the work of Doug DuBois, Amy Stein and Mark Steinmetz. East of Eden investigates contemporary America through the lens of John Steinbeck’s canonical novel. The exhibition draws upon themes of the west as a place for transformation and prosperity, familial relationships, America on the brink of change and the deterioration of the small town.
More than 58 years after its initial publication, the novel’s themes still resonate with great impact in a contemporary context. America itself has undergone tremendous shifts in the last few decades, similar to those in the novel. Rather than locate works that draw upon the time period staged in the novel, the photographs in the exhibition were all created within the last 20 years depicting a newer version of Steinbeck’s America fraught with parallel turbulence, doubt and uncertainty.
Doug DuBois’ series All the Days and Nights documents his family over the course of the last few decades. The resulting images reverberate with emotional immediacy, providing a potent examination of family relations, and what it means to subject personal relationships to the unblinking eye of the camera. Each photograph is rich with color, nuanced gestures and glances enveloping the viewer in a multivalent, emotionally tense world. For East of Eden, selections of images of DuBois’ father from All the Days and Nights are exhibited.
For the Stranded series, Amy Stein has travelled the entire US by car to find people caught in-between freedom and survival at the side of the road. The resulting photographs describe a nation under duress and in transition. In many ways the work speaks to the ability to interact with strangers and also acts as a document regarding a very specific climate in American history.
While teaching in Knoxville, Tennessee from 1991 to 1992, Mark Steinmetz began photographing in the streets, neighborhoods and outskirts of the city. Drawn to subjects where transition is a recurrent theme, he portrays drifters, stray animals, kids and small by-the-roadside scenes that add to a heightened sense of turbulence. Steinmetz uses a 6X9 medium format camera to lushly describe his subjects in black and white.