Eirik Johnson

Raised in Seattle and a UW grad, Eirik Johnson's photographs in "Sawdust Mountain" chronicle the decline of the Northwest timber industry—or rather, its bleak aftermath. On the Olympic Peninsula and beyond, we see the depopulated, clear-cut remnants of our region's century-long logging boom. There are no towering Doug firs or heroic woodsmen left, no quaint images like those of frontier photographer Darius Kinsey. (Johnson acknowledges Kinsey, the Curtis brothers, and Carleton Watkins as influences; and the Henry vaults supply two complementary galleries of their lovely historical images.) Today, old-growth timber has been replaced by weedy, fast-growing breeds, bioengineered for swift harvest. The mills are closed and jobs are scarce. Empty buildings are used for flea markets, or to sell Star Wars memorabilia; most of the young people have moved to the city. Yet at the same time, natural habitats are being restored and dams removed. His images are depressing but not hopeless. The landscape may not be poised for recovery, but it's ready for the next uncertain thing—new uses, though surely with fewer users. Johnson portrays those who remain with stoic, mossy fortitude. BRIAN MILLER

Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Starts: Oct. 24. Continues through Jan. 31, 2009

 
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