D r a m a   I n   A g r i c u l t u r e

November 7 to November 17, 2018     Davis Arts Center         Artist’s statement below

Reception November 9, 6 pm – 8 pm.   For more exhibit information,  please click here. 


Drama In Agriculture        iPhone Images by Dave Webb

Images captured and manipulated on iPhone only; they range in size from 20”x30” to 5”x7” and are printed on metal and paper, or are housed in “glowing frames.” The exhibit runs November 7 through the 17. There will be a free Second Friday ArtAbout reception on Friday, November 9, from 6 – 8pm.

Drama? In agriculture? Oh, certainly. There is untold drama out in the back roads of Yolo and Solano counties if you look for it.

It found us.

Melinda and I have been married 36 years, and we’ve been driving these back roads with a dog in the backseat for what seems like forever. It’s probably been over 10 years, so long that we can’t remember why. We stopped because of her cancer; we resumed again, driving mostly at dawn — sunrises are reminders that every day is new and no day is guaranteed; some dawns are remarkable and others simply are not. Over the years we’ve fallen in love with the land before us and the sky above. Along for the ride, every day, is that little camera in the pocket with the phone attached. A little device that pulled me into this art form and won’t let go.

Out there, there is much to love: the line of the horizon and the levee, the texture of the sky, the fields of water and the stretch of grasses, the miracle of food growing, the flight of birds, the roam of cattle.

Drama, we are told, is five steps from exposition to resolution (there’s a climax in there somewhere); drama undoubtedly involves conflict: the absence of water, shadows and light, wet and dry, dark and dawn, hills and flat… all are conflicts, some that resolve and some that never will.

People complain about how flat it all is, but flat just leaves more space for the sky.

Drama is surprise: how the bird flies away, how a field changes over a few days, the dramatic appearance of sunflowers or corn; a sudden flood of water; a field full of cows or goats. Clouds at dawn have been chock full of the most breathtaking dramas; fallen tomatoes signify fruit out of the ground and off to the market — the human touch. (Missing in this exhibit are the people who work here — they represent great dramas, especially in this valley over the past 60 years — but I’m no journalist and I photograph people rarely, so not all dramas are accounted for. Art first.)

The images to be found are places you go but don’t remember how you got there; not all of pictures made this show but I love them all: the three trees south of campus, the odd communication tower, the twin towers off 113. That thick grove of trees north of Davis, the pigs of Full Belly, the cows down near Steve and Jill’s land. The erratically painted traffic lines out on the road to the dump. The faded business sign in Esparto. Where that deserted house burned down some years back.

Drama In Agriculture is roaming around and finding it for yourself.

Thanks to the Davis Arts Center and Bay Photo Lab in Santa Cruz for their support of this exhibit; to Melinda Welsh,  Steve Robinson & Jill Brigham; to Judith Redmond at Full Belly Farms; Carol Webb Monroe for those wonderful cookies. And to the City of Davis, who has proclaimed November 2018 Phone Art Month. Post your best stuff to https://www.facebook.com/PhoneArtInDavis/. Can’t wait to see your work!

–Dave Webb