What: You are not a Dinosaur
When: Now through March 17
Where: Vine Arts Center (2637 27 Ave. S.)
Growing up is a drag. This doesn’t wholly pertain to the inevitable reality of matured obligations. People don’t long for their youth solely because they are sick of working nine to five, paying bills or filing taxes. It has to do with personal perception.
There is a whimsy through the world that slowly gets dulled at every punctuated moment of disillusionment. Cardboard boxes slowly fail to double as racecars, and living rooms’ sofas are no longer floating rafts on a carpet of lava. Minneapolis’ Vine Arts Center’s current exhibition “You Are Not a Dinosaur” finds a collective of local photographers exploring this notion of adulthood’s disparaging attachment to realism.
Based on the short story “Dinosaur” by Bruce Holland Rodgers, from which the exhibition derives its name, the collection varies stylistically as well as thematically. Regardless, all the works still allow the reality of maturation to resonate.
“It gave them a really nice point of departure where they could keep their individuality but really explore something that dealt with how the life cycle starts with childhood but kind of goes back to that,” Larry Nelson, president of the Board for the Vine Arts Center, said.
Paula Warn’s neo-Rockwellian black and white photographs, largely absent of subjects, blends hints of modern aesthetics with the dated interiors of her parents home.
“There is a frustration with contemporary trends, the digital and clinical,” contributing photographer and project organizer Tim White said.
White, who recently began work as a photographer two years ago after leaving painting, offers a collection of imagery that progresses in intimacy. His work moves from a surveillant photograph of a child wandering from his parent on a sidewalk to the shots of his female subjects with superimposed scribble.
“I like to manipulate it, muddy it, take out some of the antiseptic qualities of digital and bring back something that I hope is a little more narrative,” he said.
The month-long show has also been incorporating supplemental events as a means of fleshing out this discourse of age. This weekend, Minneapolis’ Vaudevillian absurdists Dreamland Faces will fill the space with a supplemental soundtrack.
“They are kind of a beautiful throwback,” White said, “all beautiful saw and accordion.”
Osama Esid’s woodland photographs also stand in confrontation to contemporary photographic technique. His Van Dyke printing methods show manual strokes on the outskirts of the large sheets. The scenes, which depict the artist and his daughters in some otherworldly woodland, are viewed as some universal family heirloom.
“The work they’re doing is antiquated, but it’s still relevant in an artistic landscape,” White said.
It is this pastiche of photographic methodology, from the surreal work of Esid to the empirical realism of Steve Ozone’s aging portrait series, that allows these themes of creatively stifling maturity to resonate. There is a sense of that lost magic in the vibrant and diverse approaches undertaken by the collective. Clearly, imagination isn’t entirely dead amidst the comprises of maturity.