Intertidal: Dye's art of the hot zone
Photographer Victoria Dye had occasion to spend a couple weeks at Washington’s Olympic National Park and had the presence of mind to bring along a camera. Olympic National is a beautiful place, or so art critics hear.
What broad and prodigious splendor that park offers does not find a documentarian in Dye, however. At least in her time there, the photographer found the little things much more engaging than the big ones. The park preserves some 65 miles of coastline, though Dye restricted herself to a small section of it, the intertidal zone– a hot little strip where all the invertebrates go to hang and be seen.
With her modes exhibit, “Tidepools of Olympic National Park,” Dye exhibits work that showcases her obvious strengths. She has an eye for bright color– which she likes to isolate or set off against dark or colorless backgrounds and sharp contrast and occasionally comes up with a beautifully composed photo.
These qualities are evident primarily in a few special photographs that overshadow the rest of the exhibit. In “Ochre Sea Star,” Dye brings out the strikingly bright oranges and yellows of a sun-touched starfish by placing it in and around a pile of dull-gray clams.
This technique also works in favor of “Pacific Goose Barnacle,” where a small flash of red-orange, the shell of a lone colorful clam, gives the photograph a subtle look.
Nothing stands out quite so much as Dye’s “Pacific Blood Star.” Dye sets this starfish’s brilliant orange against a wet, slate gray stone slab, giving it a striking contrast that catches the eye instantly.
It is clear in this exhibit, however, that Dye’s interests are more than just visual. In what comes across as a touching gesture, Dye balances her exhibit between the aesthetic and the educational. She really wants us to know about what she’s taken the time to photograph. Beyond giving the photo’s titles, Dye’s informational material placed next to the photographs describe only the biological workings of her subjects.
In other words, no mention of film type or artistic intention here. Dye is far more interested in giving her viewers a little more insight into vascular systems, intertidal zones, and muscular feet.
Govisual presents the color photography of Victoria Dye. “Tidepools of Olympic National Park,” runs through June 5 at 208 Third St. NE. 293-4475.