December 10 – January 4
Artist Reception: December 12, 5 – 7pm
Pierre Toutain-Dorbec was invited by Cannon Beach Arts Association to show a retrospective of his work in the Cannon Beach Gallery. When discussing this with the artist at the Cannon Beach Hotel, which he owns and runs with his wife Claudia, both I, as the new Program Director and he, the artist, were bemused by the enormity of such a task. Toutain-Dorbec has had a distinguished career spanning over forty five years, working as war correspondent and social commentator. Over a well-rounded glass of cognac, we considered the scale of the rather lovely, but small, Cannon Beach Gallery and the choice of work available. It was obvious that the show could not be a true retrospective, but perhaps we could give a glimpse into the broad spectrum of the artist’s work by choosing a single thread… Humanism as expressed through the photographer’s lens.
The work in this show has been selected by the artist to represent the theme “Humans” and his preoccupation with capturing human nature in the most authentic sense. The exhibition opens with a reception on Saturday, December 12, 2015 and runs through January 4, 2016. Pierre Toutain-Dorbec has traveled the world, photographing and reflecting on his own interaction with life’s events and as a witness to the actions of mankind. Pierre has published over forty books, and exhibited his photographs, drawings, sculptures and paintings throughout Asia, Europe, America, and North Africa.
Pierre Toutain-Dorbec grew up in an artistic family. His mother, Francoise Fontaine, was a professional musician and opera singer. His grandfather, Gabriel, and uncle, Jean, were both photographers. Pierre’s father, Jacques, was a textile designer, and later a painter. At 16, Toutain-Dorbec attended the Atelier de la Grande-Chaumiere, a renowned art school in Paris, and worked as an assistant with the acclaimed German photographer Wilhem Maywald. By the end of 1968 he began his career as a photographer in Vietnam, working as a war correspondent.
He documented front line stories in Vietnam, and in Cambodia with the Khmer Rouges. In Burma, while covering guerilla insurgence, he began to focus on the collateral damage of war and social issues such as child abuse, prostitution, and drug use. He worked for two years for the Moroccan royal family. In India, he worked extensively on recording the human face of leprosy, religious rituals and its ancient cities. He lived and worked with the Dalai Lama for a year, publishing two books with him.
In Europe he photographed French traditions and customs dating back as far as the Middle Ages. From 1995 to 2003, he lived in France and Spain where he exhibited and worked on personal projects, primarily sculpture and photography. In 2002, he became the Director and curator for the International Museum for Photography, located in the ancient Château de Belcastel. In 2004, he moved to New Mexico, then to Oregon, where he started a project documenting the USA. If this was not enough… Pierre also worked in the fashion industry for both Christian Lacroix and Christian Dior, as well as for the movie industry.