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Dornith Doherty - s t o c k p i l e
at Holly Johnson Gallery through December 23
by Todd Camplin

Dornith Doherty is making mythical, scientific, visually imaginative, and intellectually stimulating
digital chromogenic lenticular photographs. Her work, exhibited at Holly Johnson Gallery, gives
back to the viewer so much more than just the surface image.
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Dornith Doherty’s work is about photography in the way the medium is used to explore an object in
a very technical manner. The images in the show are shots of x-rayed seeds. The process and
technique really shine through in these works.  I see most photography as plot driven. Doherty
follows this tradition through the story of a particular collection of seeds and about their storage
to keep our food supply and other botanicals biologically diverse. Doherty traveled to these Banks
that collect and store seeds, where she collected portraits of individual little pre-plants. She finally
displays them like a science museum might store specimens in a drawer, only hers are on the wall.
In the work “Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden,” she
created multiple sized rectangles which are collaged in a grid. The white objects seem to glow
brightly against the very dark blue background.
previous articles
by
Todd Camplin
Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden (2011)
Digital Chromogenic Lenticular Photograph
79 x 36 inches
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Sunflowers
Digital Chromogenic Lenticular Photograph
29 x 48 inches
Poppy (2010)
Archival Pigment Photograph
39.5 x 39.5 inches
The individual or grouping of spouts also captured my attention. These early moments of a plants
life look so ghostly pale under the x-ray, but the very stark white background seems to punch this
spiritual effect quite effectively. Once again, display becomes a key factor in these works. Doherty
arranges the objects to maximize their effect on your attention. Some are displayed into patterns,
yet others feel dropped and capture in a moment in time. I highly recommend this photography
show that is much more than photographs. Find yourself over at Holly Johnson Gallery before
December 23rd.
Doherty’s work is about display of knowledge shrouded in mystery. Associate curator of Ringling
Museum of Art, Joanna Weber compared her work to Joseph Cornell’s shadow box works. Both
are taking science as inspiration for images as Weber points out, but Doherty is about the present.
Unlike Cornell, I think Doherty is directly involved in the process of recording and documenting
these seeds, but her presentation mimics a scientific arrangement without the overload of data.
The work titled “Poppy” completely fooled me of its identity. I found myself saying,” wait, I thought
this was a show about seeds, so why is a sand dollar on display”. But the x-ray of a poppy and a
sand dollar look remarkably similar. Just by probing inside the seeds with scientific equipment
she opened a whole new world of visual experience.