by Elizabeth Manson
Photos by Nikki DeVries
I may not know great photography, but I know what I like. Luckily, this was both (I have the former on good authority).
This past Saturday, January 23, was DNJ’s opening reception for two photography exhibits: Richard Gilles’s “Signs of the Times” and Bernadette DiPeitro’s “Laundry Lines.”
This cozy gallery lends itself perfectly to this sort of exhibition reception; it’s made for those who want to walk in, grab complimentary free wine and (awesome) cookies (seriously, try the cashew ones), and hit the two photograph-filled rooms to ogle, shop, and mingle. The crowd was mostly older and sophisticated, comprised of those that had a decorating budget and a taste for fine photography, and knew how to use them. I, with my nonexistent decorating budget, was just there to look.
The premise for DiPietro’s “Laundry Lines” is simple: photos of laundry lines from around the world. It seems like everyone has laundry to air out, from several pairs of underwear hanging in Ojai, California to socks, shirts, and pants drying in exotic places like Brazil, Vietnam, and Malaysia. (I expressed my envy of being able to travel to so many places to which she explained that she had been an art teacher on a cruise….sweet gig). I suppose that I should say something meaningful about how laundry is the world’s great equalizer, and I should somehow compare it to the idiom of ‘airing out one’s dirty laundry in public,’ but, frankly, I was just captivated with what all these people were wearing.
The larger exhibition room was reserved for Gilles’s massive panoramic photographs. Again, the theme for “Signs of the Times” is rather simple: (mostly) blank billboards standing abandoned in various backdrops including deserts and cityscapes. There’s something poignant about seeing an empty CBS-sponsored billboard next to a lone, run-down farmhouse. Or the starkly artificial negative space created by a giant white sign in the natural terrain of mountains and deserts. I feel like I should use the word “juxtaposition” somewhere, but I think I’ll avoid it. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but think about the meaning behind the work: is it a sign of our times that commercial advertising is invading our most natural and awe-inspiring landscapes, or that they’re all blank? You be the judge.
WHO: Richard Gilles and Bernadette DiPietro
WHAT: “Signs of the Times” and “Laundry Lines” opening reception at DNJ Gallery
WHERE: DNJ Gallery
ADDRESS: 154 ½ North La Brea Avenue
WHEN: January 23, 6-8 P.M.
EXHIBITION DATES: January 23-March 6