Dakota’s personal vision bundles together her interests in perception, the role of care and intimacy in growth and change, and the importance of fantasy. She has done so through a subtle critique of commercial aesthetics. This is a very significant achievement as she takes the most seductive qualities of commercial capital, its capacity for affective engagement, and reflects it back on itself. What emerges is a fractured landscape of make-believe, where sense making is sublimated to a kaleidoscope of desire and half articulated myths. There is a powerful striving behind the forms and colors, a restless movement that demonstrates how even the destructive tendencies of modern capital can, in some environments, provide brief glimpses into more creative and less oppressive futures.
- Phillip Thurtle, 2016
Gearhart is a wiz at making alchemical amalgamations, drenching the organic and elemental with prismatic projections, ever turning the blasé of the white cube into an immersive wonderland that casts a spell while forcing viewers to contemplate the natural world and our interaction with it.
- Amanda Manitach, 2015
Photomedia and installation artist Gearhart is one of the most important visual artists to emerge in Seattle during the past several years. Taking such undistinguished matter as wood, Tyvek, Mylar and yams, she integrates them with video feeds and audio tracks to create work that expresses a poignant sense of emotional and environmental vulnerability.
- Jim Demetre, 2016
Her work is sort of like avant-garde Dada nature porn. When I say “nature porn,” I don’t mean that in the same way people say “food porn.” No, these are not beautiful HD images of canyons and waterfalls. When I say “nature porn” I mean dirty, voeyuristic films in which Gearhart comes on to birds and trees like a scummy San Fernando adult film director. They are disorienting, surreal, and funny.
-Kelton Sears, 2013
Gearhart is the Seattle artist who created the brilliant 11-minute disruption to the environment of corporate video production.
- Jen Graves, 2016
Dakota Gearhart's Sunken Hot House (2016) create(s) new contemporary mascots, embracing the politics, humor, and creative potential that can be cultivated by working from a region apart. The video features two characters: a grinning Seapunk mermaid and her land-bound equivalent, who crawls along the shoreline entirely covered in curly brown hair. "I am the caretaker… I, a mermaid prostitute," she croons—a simultaneously chilling and comedic thinly veiled ecological tale.
- Sarah Margolis-Pineo, 2016
Gearhart has transformed the Pioneer Square gallery into a dreamlike fortress that invites you to crawl through like a jungle gym, or simply stand in the corner and oogle at its odd angles. Those conflicting impulses, it ends up, are exactly what Gearhart hoped to explore with the piece, the physical and psychological "cages" we build for ourselves, and how we alternately feel embraced by and at odds with their confines.
- Ellen Dicola, 2014