"Start from where you are." This simplistic suggestion is offered to many a budding creative on the question of personal artistic direction. Starting concerns like where to begin and how to proceed can be, for some, daunting. If this is true for the four young photographers currently on view in "Dreamboats" at Umbrage Editions Gallery in Dumbo, it is certainly not evident in their work. Blurring the line between artist and reporter, these four make up Dreamboats Collective, an on-line agency/co-operative perhaps loosely modeled on Magnum Photos. While living in disparate parts of the country, these men share a common affinity for exploring socio-political developments and their personal place within them.
Joe Leavenworths' "Pictures from Home" series was a post-university journey back to his childhood home in Connecticut. Here he examined changing topographies, both geographic and intimate, resulting in piercing images tinged with an undercurrent of menace. "Scarï" 2007, a close-up of a hacked and oozing tree paired with "Dad, First Snow" 2007, an ominous shovel bearing silhouette, produced dread in this viewer on par with the best of horror films.
Tracking further back in time, Adam Golfer (grandson to holocaust survivors) revisits his familial history, simultaneously recasting his own. "Dachau (Red Tape)" shows a seemingly arbitrary line of tape emanating from a grove of trees on the Dachau memorial grounds. Taken in context, this thin band of alternating blood red and white, reads like a forgotten telegram still transmitting as yet untold horrors. More hopeful is his "The German Alps, Bavaria" 2008, which sets a hiking buddy against a scrim of mist. While obscuring the Alps, the mist doubles as a symbolic blank slate upon which a new genealogical story can be written.
T.J. Proechel and Daniel Shea round out the show with contributions that are equally engaging and competent, examining the expansions/contractions of "Industry" and their subsequent impact on the surrounding communities.
Seemingly in consideration of our most recent economic contraction, the Dreamboats Collective is offering, through Umbrage Editions, a "Limited Edition Affordable Print Series". Each artist is extending 2 images (in editions of 10) that will increase in price as the series sells out. Standouts within this series include "Sheas Sign WV" 2007 and Proechel's "Washington Ave, Minneapolis MN" 2009. Considering the optimistic outlook for this Collectives future and starting prices as low as $35, your immediate direction should be focused and clear.