‘Uncle Vern’s Dog’ is an exhibition about happy accidents, about looseness and risk-taking, about thinking but not over-thinking. It is about paying attention when unexpected things come your way. It is about looking closely and listening to your intuition. The artists included in the exhibition know exactly how
to do their work, even if they sometimes don’t know what it is they are working on until it’s done.
The photographer Lee Friedlander once observed how unpredictable the process of taking pictures could be:
The net is indiscriminate unless you point it and then are lucky. I might get what I hoped for and then some – lots of then some – more than I might have remembered was there. I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary’s laundry and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on the fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and seventy-eight trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It’s a generous medium, photography.
‘Uncle Vern’s Dog’ is curated by the artists Sarah Bowker-Jones and Mike Ryder. The exhibition arises from the curators’ recognition of a shared ethos amongst diverse artists; whether they make paintings, videos, sculptures, installations, collages, digital images or photographs, these artists all recognise the joy that Friedlander registers at the inadvertent munificence of his chosen medium. In their own ways, they have designed their nets to be similarly indiscriminate, in the hope of catching something as miraculous as Uncle Vern’s peeing dog.
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