Howard Barlow
Wilderness Adventure

July 7 - 30, 2011

Opening Reception: 5 - 8pm
First Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hurray, summer is here! It's time to pile into the RV, throw the old tent in the back of the family station wagon, grab a case of beer, a fishing rod, and a few firearms, and head for the hills where we can romanticize still being the pioneers, explorers, and capable woodsmen that we once prided ourselves as being.

It is ingrained into our beings as Americans that we should familiarize ourselves and our families with such skills as setting up tents, cooking over a camp fire, fishing, hunting, and defending ourselves from fierce wild beasts, and, if necessary, from each other. We drag our families out on fishing trips to lakes stocked with farmed trout, teach them the skills of shooting exotic Chinese Ringneck pheasant out of wheat fields, or brave the outdoors for a weekend of sleeping in temporary shelters with hundreds of others in impermanent neighborhoods known as campgrounds.

In his current work, Howard Barlow uses children's story and coloring book imagery intermingled with hunting and camping illustrations to create innocently sinister and peculiar scenes of confused wilderness recreation. Many of these works render woodsy gender stereotypes, in particular, the notion of protective male and helpless female. Barlow uses wood burning to concoct these narrative scenes and to decoratively embellish objects such as rifle stocks. Howard also collaborates with his wife Lorraine Barlow on a few pieces which involve complex hand knit elements. The relentless "taming" of nature and the associated exploitation, trepidation, idealization, and confusion permeating contemporary recreational outdoor culture are explored in these works.

Howard and Lorraine live in Ellensburg, Washington with their two young children. Lorraine is a high school English teacher in Mattawa and Howard teaches at Central Washington University and Columbia Basin College. They are both currently engaged in a project where they make and wear their own clothes for nine weeks ("Dressed to the Nines") and are preparing for their third year of "Project Hungry Hungry Howard" where they, along with other participants, eat only that which they grow, raise, forage, hunt, or glean for the months of October and November.

Hours: Noon-5pm Thurs-Sat,
or by appointment.

Next Exhibition:

Justin Gibbens & Renee Adams
(more info)


Game Bird and the Stalker

2011, burnt wood, paint, 24"x30"

Download Press Release
in PDF format