Whipping It Up: A Collaborative Alchemy

small photos of heads mounted on pins in a patterned array

Photography captures brief, fleeting moments in time, often hiding context and the subject’s circumstances. This exhibition, with installations by Garth Amundson and Pierre Gour, explores how lack of background can erase entire histories and cultures. These skewed snapshots are especially evident in historical Victorian photos, when society strived to bury queer culture.

In several of the exhibit’s installations, the artists manipulate vintage photos by removing subjects’ faces and eyes. They invite viewers to project themselves into the images to consider their own gender construction. In another installation, the artists combine portraits of two men, with one turned on his head, to disrupt conventions and consider what historical photography omits.

“…Amundson and Gour have been engaged in a long-standing recuperative effort, producing an affirmatively out, openly queer art decades before it was politically safe to do so. Their pioneering efforts not only originate in a queer response to the hostile erasure of our collective history, but they pursue this recuperation in a notably queer way, namely through scouring and sifting the past for its unrecognized signs of queerness, those quietly coded, easy to overlook bits of evidence that produce in queer observers a sudden sense of familiarity or jolt of acknowledgment.” - Jonathan D. Katz, Director, Visual Studies Doctoral Program, Department of Art, University at Buffalo

Amundson and Gour complicate studio portraits and commercial images, which flatten away the murkiness of life with their cleanliness and idyllic conventions. They use the lens of their current moment and circumstances to imagine what other ideas might be teased from these photos.

Garth Amundson and Pierre Gour's exhibition is on display at The Pritchard Gallery at the University of Idaho August 9 - October 6, 2018.

Roger H.D. Rowley, Director

an altered vintage photo of two men's portraits inverted and joined at the shoulders (one is upside down)
vintage photo, one man seated, one standing. The image has holes where the eyes normally go.
vintage image a a figure. The figure's form has been covered by buttons attached to the photo.

Authored on

Feb 15, 2019 1:07am