Photo courtesy of artist Nan Goldin.
Space is a hot commodity during the Sundance Film Festival. Consumed by throngs of visitors, Park City’s streets, restaurants, hotels and cell towers are maxed out, severely limiting the room to roam freely. Yet contrary to the norm of hi-tech displays and disposable amenities, one Sundance exhibit is reclaiming a minimal approach to the highly publicized festival.
In a relatively low-key opening on Jan. 16, the Space exhibit debuted with no wait lines in an unassuming storefront. On display: a pop-up gallery of fine art photographs meant to instill the philosophy that less is more.
Photo courtesy of artist Mike Brodie.
Featuring 10 contemporary photographers with worldwide claim, including part-time Park City resident and former Park City Mountain Resort terrain park director Jim Mangan, each artist has captured their own variation of space: whether it’s a fleeting moonrise that glows above an empty sea, or the solace of a lone house against a stark, grey sky. “Everyone’s caught something in the moment,” Mangan said. “It’s about showing how people connect to the outdoors and nature.”
And that’s especially potent given our obsessive relationship with iCameras and the instagramification of images. “Most of what we all photograph is our own environment, what we surround ourselves with,” said Ken Miller, curator of the Space exhibit. Whether shot by a phone-wielding citizen or a fine art photographer, “it either comes down to [taking a photo of] a person or a landscape.”
Photo courtesy of artist Jim Mangan.
You’ll see that in one of Mangan’s abstract landscape photos, shot above the Great Salt Lake. “The idea was to make the photo appear like it was painted” and full of texture, said Mangan. “It makes you step away from it all,” forcing you to put down technology and create a new understand—a new beginning—from something that’s stark and spacious.
Look around further, and you’ll discover that nature—particularly in the West—is inherently filled with the kind of space that these artists showcase. “American West ‘folklore’ is all about space,” said Miller. “In the history of photography, a lot of American photos were shot in the West. Look at Ansel Adams. He was the pioneer of capturing spaces in the West.”
So of all the places out West, why choose Park City? “It’s a small town, and you’re shoving all these creative people in a small space,” said Miller. “Sundance Film Festival people are visual people. This seems like a receptive audience.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Nitsch.
The Space exhibit is on display Jan. 16–Feb. 15 at 625 Main Street, Park City, Utah.