Evvy Eisen's OYSTER FARM exhibit opens at Dominican

Acclaimed photographer Evvy Eisen is presenting her latest photographic essay – OYSTER FARM – through June 28 in Alemany Library at Dominican University of California.

Eisen, who specializes in environmental portraits, will attend an opening reception for the exhibit from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2,  in the San Marco Gallery where about 60 black-and-white gelatin silver prints are on display.

The Point Reyes-based photographer also will be on hand for another private reception on Thursday, June 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. following the Marin County Farmer’s Market board meeting at Dominican.

The exhibit focuses on workers at the Drake Bay Oyster Company, which is located on Drakes Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore in western Marin County. It also is currently the center of a controversy whether it will be able to remain in operation after 2012 when its lease runs out. Opposing positions have divided the Marin community and have been argued at the state and national levels as well.

Eisen’s exhibit does not deal with the complex issues involved in these disagreements. Rather,  it focuses on the people who work at the oyster farm and face an uncertain future. 

 “This is about the workers,” Eisen says. “The exhibit will be a place where people can take a look and create some dialogue about it and hopefully it will change the tone of the existing dialogue.”

Eisen has spent a year documenting the workers and farm environment. She photographs in a classic portrait tradition - using a tripod mounted, medium format camera loaded with black and white film - and creates individual silver gelatin prints in the darkroom.

 Eisen’s work illustrates a connection between the people involved and the community they serve, putting a human face on what has become abstract and theoretical. 

 The exhibit at Dominican is divided into three sections:

•            Portraits

•            Photographs of the working farm

•            Abstractions and still life compositions

 Eisen often works on long term projects which reveal the people involved in socially relevant issues. She  recently completed Multiply by Six Million, a 15-year project photographing Holocaust survivors in California and France.  The exhibit is available through the California Exhibition Resources Alliance. A website for this work www.multiplybysixmillion.com includes portraits from the collection and a clip from the short documentary film she created, which has been shown on the Sundance Channel.

Eisen was born and educated in New York City. She has lived and worked in West Marin since 1971. Her photographs have been shown in solo shows throughout California, and along with Michael Kenna’s work in 2005. She has taught photography and was a partner of the Darkroom in San Rafael.  

 Her work is in the permanent collections of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the de Saisset Museum in Santa Clara, CA and the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine in Paris, France, as well as private collections in the US and France.

For more information about Eisen’s exhibit at Dominican, contact Jenny Moore at (415) 485-3253 or jenny.moore@dominican.edu.