Dutch Bieber: The Chair Project

March 2, 2020


March 30, 2020

Opening Reception:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

5:30 pm


What happens when a photographer gives himself a white chair, a set of rules, and goes out into the countryside to ask questions?

The Chair Project began with a bridge, a chair, and a plan. The plan was to gather 20 eight-inch black and white photographs of the white chair and mount them in 16” x 16” black frames…. An eight-inch black and white photograph of a white chair.


Within these restrictions of The Chair Project, I am free to make photographs whose principal interest is visual, formal and abstract, or to express conceptual questions and statements, or to create artwork as narrative texts.

In the colorful palette of the Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) images, the camera becomes a brush discovering images of gesture, energetic movement and joyful color. I like to think the camera’s movement is related to the gestures Abstract Expressionist work in the 20th century. A small conceit.

In any media, playing is the artistic practice, and choice is the determinate action. Different media are merely different playgrounds. For now, I choose photography.

About the photos:

I love a small wood bridge at the Prickly Pear Creek Fishing Area and wanted to capture an image of it from a forced perspective point of view to create a large trapezoid filling the photograph. The chair added an interesting detail. I was focused on the visual or formal and abstract qualities of the image and not narrative possibilities. Other images I captured primarily for the visual or formal interest include “Abstract2”, and “Is That Me?”

After the photograph of the bridge, the chair was always in the car waiting for another opportunity. On a snowy evening after a meeting of the Helena Photographic Society the geometry of the cathedral steps caught my eye. Of the several photos I took I thought “Greeter” was most visually interesting and had the most potential for generating narratives. Other examples of this opportunistic photography are “Titanic”, “Is That Me?”, and “Mother Tree”.

For several photo shoots I took props along with the chair to see what would happen while I played. What would happen if I took a very large piece of fabric to the very windy Prickly Pear Creek Fishing Area? What would happen if I wrapped the chair in shrink-wrap and put it in a tree, wedged it between large rocks, or threw it in the creek? Answers to this question, “What if?” include “Into the Wind”, “Floating Away”, and “Questions”

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