Rabbit/Hare, Miller Gallery
January 15 to April 4, 2021
David Billet and Ian Kline’s Rabbit/Hare invites us to sustain our looking, sustain our thinking, trust our intuition, and, just as equally important, to feel through these pictures.
The first handful of photographs experienced are like waking up in a field. The images suggest a sleep not quite like Rip Van Winkle’s, but somewhat close. Instead of a story of someone sleeping through the American Revolutionary War, the viewer, through the photographs, has slept through something mysterious and personal, yet still of national scope and importance. Whatever slumber we awoke from, and whatever distant land we found ourselves in, we are greeted by a welcoming guide on horseback, our Virgil.
Together at last.
But this land isn’t too distant, and we have company in the images themselves, and by extension Billet and Kline who together traveled these roads before us on a trip from the east coast to Texas. However, we see more than the traditional “road-trip” photo survey that captures things, people, and landscapes that seem interesting without intent. We certainly witness nods to the west through the open road, cowboy hats, and a few lassos, but there is more to the concepts of masculinity that these subjects might suggest.
We see wrestlers embracing one another with a halo of ring lights above, and a woman hold her breath during a horse trough baptism - suggesting a connection to the human and sacred. Wandering and yearning, are expressed in images of a butterfly in mid-flight gently flap its wings, and a cat in mid-leap, reaching out for a bird. Once together as a whole, we see rebirth and longing, fragility and strength, magic and reality. Moreover, we see that these ideas don’t have to be so separate.