Wharton County: This Alluvial Land
So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Cuidad Juarez
GALVESTON, Texas - Galveston Arts Center is pleased to present two exhibitions in conjunction with Houston’s FotoFest 2012, the 14th International Biennial of Photography by Texas-based photographers Sharon Joines and Scott Dalton. The exhibitions will open during the March 10th ArtWalk and remain on view through April 15, 2012. Curator Clint Willour will lead a gallery talk with the artists beginning at 6:30 pm during ArtWalk. The event is free and open to the public.
A native of Houston, Sharon Joines moved to Wharton in 1973 and has photographed the changes Wharton County has gone through since 2004. Located 60 miles southwest of Houston, Wharton was home to playwright Horton Foote and still boasts the iconic Tee Pee Motel. While the ravages of weather and time have taken their toll, Joines writes that she has developed a deep love and respect for the place, its history and its people. “The true character of a place does not fully reveal itself until a relationship is built,” notes Joines. “The images I am making are a testimony to what I have come to believe make life in a small town unique. The experience has proven to be both liberating and full of lessons.” Joines’ images reflect her interest in the impetus for people to continue to want to live in Wharton County rather than moving to a more economically prosperous area.
In stark contrast to Joines’ idyllic scenes of bucolic country life are the compelling images of what constitutes daily life for residents in the Texas-Mexico border town of Cuidad Juarez, by filmmaker and photographer Scott Dalton. Dalton spent 14 years working throughout Latin America documenting civil conflict and the continually escalating drug war. Thought to be the war’s epicenter, Cuidad Juarez sits across from El Paso and has been called “Murder City” and “Baghdad on the Border” due to the over 3,000 murders per year on average. Dalton writes, “I am interested in the often fragile relationship between people and the places they live—in how individuals, environment, and history combine to create a region with its own culture…. In ‘So Close, So Far’ I am exploring these ideas through images of daily life in a place where the drug war calls the very concept of ‘daily life’ into question.” Through his combination of documentary reporting and environmental portraiture, Dalton records the tragic history of a city where cartel violence is forging an uncertain new reality. His vision is fresh, original and probing.
Sharon Joines’ photographs have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions including shows at Houston Center for Photography; Lawndale Art Center, Houston; Live Oak Art Center, Columbus; Dishman Art Gallery, Beaumont; and Martin Museum of Art, Waco. Dalton has a degree in Photojournalism from The University of Texas at Austin and his photos have appeared in National Geographic, Harper’s, Time, The New Yorker and other national publications. He is the 2011 recipient of the Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography awarded by the New Orleans Photo Alliance.
Galveston Arts Center is operating in a temporary downtown location on the corner of Market and 25th Streets. The exhibition gallery and selections from GAC’s retail gallery, ArtWorks, are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from noon to 5 pm. Admission is free at all times. A flyer listing all ArtWalk participants with times and locations can be downloaded at www.contemporaryartgalveston.org.
Funding for the Galveston Arts Center is provided by the Houston Endowment, Inc., The Brown Foundation Inc., The City of Galveston Park Board of Trustees through the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund, The Meyer Levy Charitable Foundation of The Dallas Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund, Jack and Annis Bowen Foundation, and the generous support of the community, an active membership and many volunteers. GAC’s Art for All Education Program is supported in part by the Alice Taylor Gray Foundation, Harry S. and Isabel C. Cameron Foundation, and Galveston Rotary Foundation, Inc..