Thursday, February 18, 2010


Horses as a subject in art have a fine and long history; these magnificent animals have served many a painter's canvas with their grace, power, and presence. Robert Dutesco  presents something else altogether: the horse as spiritual force.  His photographs of the wild horses of Sable Island, Nova Scotia, are portraits of innate knowledge and love of the subject; of understanding and communication between man and horse. The results are images of such individuality and beauty, that one will not look at the subject in the same way again.  These photographs attest to complete trust and respect between Dutesco's approach to his horses and their acceptance and trust of him.  He captures them close up, but not with a telephoto lens necessarily -- they have come to intuit his presence over time; his patience and their curiosity provides the viewer the chance to experience, if once removed, the shared connection between photographer and horse.  But these images are also extraordinary as a conservation document: In 1994, Dutesco first began photographing these animals with the intent to bring awareness to their environment, and the beauty of its natural land.  Sable Island is essentially a comma of land  -- as seen in aerial views -- resting in the Atlantic Shelf off the coast of Nova Scotia.  Its almost 400 horses populate what was historically the graveyard of numerous shipwrecks.  Yet here was also a place that represented complete natural freedom, and the story of how Dutesco began the project is one both remarkable for his commitment to the horse themselves as his commitment  and love of the island itself as a symbol of preservation.

You can see these images and learn more about Dutesco's journey online at the project's mobile website,  but make a point of going to his gallery, The Horses of Sable Island, at 13 Crosby Street, in Manhattan, to view the images close up.  In a setting befitting their grandeur and power, you will feel yourself among them in a way that is both inspiring and humbling.  In a world where we quickly destroy natural environments for the sake of unnatural progress, Robert Dutesco presents us with the best argument for understanding how our lives are connected deeply with the environments in which we live (and are too fast disappearing), and with which we share of the souls of other creatures. 

For information regarding the mobile project exhibition, contact the gallery at 212-219-9622, or go to
Image copyright Robert Dutesco, 2010, reproduced with kind courtesy of the artist.

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