David Pace’s work reveals as much about the depth of our humanity as it does the photographer himself.
David Pace’s “Route 66” (1989, photography), 21 inches by 14 inches
David Pace, who passed away last year, received a Brownie Hawkeye camera for his eighth birthday in 1959 and immediately began snapping images of his friends, family and even the priests and nuns who were his teachers. “I realized from that very first experience that I could speak through images. I became a photographer that day,” Pace once said.
“Wire Photo” (2019, photograph), 25 inches by 31 inches
In the just-opened exhibit David Pace: Speaking Through Images at the Institute of Contemporary Art San Jose, patrons will see photos from an artist whose work evolved into an exploration of our collective passions, large and small, across the planet.
“Re: Collection” (2000, photograph), 25 inches by 31 inches
Pace’s camera captured the everyday minutiae—signs, collectibles, candids—which, when viewed as a whole, reveal the rich layers of our species caught up in everything from distraction to mirth.
“Hawkeye” (1960, photograph), 16 inches by 20 inches
Ever curious, kind and affable, Pace has been called the heart and soul of ICA San Jose, as he served on the organization’s board for 25 years and guest-curated memorable shows, including 2001’s This is not a Book and 2002’s Photographer Unknown. The new retrospective of Pace’s work includes his 10-year project on rural life in a Burkina Faso village, which was featured in the 2019 Venice Biennale. Gallery guests also will discover the photographer’s Velocity series—dizzying shots taken from the Shinkansen bullet train between Tokyo and Kyoto; in the age of Instagram, they feel at once prescient and grounded in the moment. Perhaps the most playful and autobiographical images in the exhibit include works like “Re: Collection.” Pace collected everything from plastic saints to Power Rangers, and we see how the artist mined joy from something so prosaic. That’s the secret of life, of course, and through his thousands of images and connections in the San Jose community, Pace managed to convey this message with his camera daily. Through Jan. 30, 560 S. First St., San Jose, 408.283.8155