The Fussy Eye: Forlorn Photography

Adam Satushek chronicles industrial deformation.

Photographer Adam Satushek has been traveling to some pretty bleak places to collect the half-dozen images in his new show afield. These are scenes written by man, shaped and deformed by industry. Rusty old tractors litter the land. Smokestacks and radar dishes pierce the dull sky. Even then, nature fights back, the sand eroding and swallowing a forgotten highway. Weeds menace a desolate parking lot. There's a tension between what we've "reclaimed"—in the parlance of Western settlers—and the new rural desuetude. Times change, people move to the cities, and these forlorn lots lose their value—empty farmhouses above, fracking below. Trained at the UW, now based in Colorado, Satushek shows a kinship with fellow Northwesterner Eirik Johnson, focusing on post-industrial locales far outside our affluent green tech bubble. The old frontier optimism has surrendered to a narrative of decline. Satushek previously shot a series on Seattle's mangled urban trees; and here, too, we see a butchered Leaning Tree along a lonesome highway. It's not really leaning so much as lopsided—brutally pruned to make way for the power lines. Do those wires actually lead anywhere? Do drivers ever pass by anymore? There's no one left to ask. Platform Gallery, 114 Third Ave. S. (Tashiro Kaplan Building), 323-2808, Free. 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Wed.–Fri. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat. Ends Feb. 9.

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