Visual Experiences:?Small Works: a Juried Exhibition?

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Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 at 1:00 PM
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Visual Experiences:?Small Works: a Juried Exhibition? by
Courtesy of Glass Growers Gallery

In 2004, there was a great deal of excitement, as word spread about the Photomedia Center, their juried photography show, and various services. Their dream and mission was breathtaking in its scope: educate the public; facilitate a collaborative forum between artists, collectors, administrators and the public; provide career networking; offer site-specific exhibitions, publishing materials, and what was still very new at the time, web based exhibitions that allowed for not only photographers from all over the world to participate but viewers world wide as well. And they have done all this very well.

The fact that Photomedia will purchase one of the exhibited photographs for their permanent collection shows their commitment to art, artists, and their 2011 International Exhibition. 

The eighth annual juried international exhibition has 20 pieces representing seven photographers, selected by two renowned jurors Jeff Louveire and Vanessa Brown. It is being hosted here in Erie by Glass Growers Gallery, which has hung them above pieces of furniture in such a way as to evoke the feeling of walking into someone?s parlor.

It is all very well to be able to see a work of art online, but there is nothing like being able to actually see the real thing in person. In fact some of the pieces in this show look quite different from their online counterparts. And seeing an international in our own backyard is a chance not to be missed.

With this show Photomedia has gone back to photography?s roots. As digital technology has advanced, many of the old barriers, such as photographic size, have been broken. Now, however, it is the intent of the Photomedia Center to show that there is still something quite wonderful about fine art photography, which is small and intimate (nothing in the show measures larger than 10-inches by 10-inches), and which relies on value, contrast, and texture rather than color. And with these old values and esthetics come some twists on traditional subject matter as well.

Sandi Daniel has taken the idea of the still life and used the natural ability of the camera to pick up on small textures and patterns to place the object in a fairly unnatural context. But that is really what a still life does?though usually on a grander scale. The color is very limited, and the image has an interesting waxy quality to it.

Daniel Jackson has also taken a traditional artistic convention, the triptych, which began as a large religious painting format, and has turned it into a delicate statement about trees.

Randy Jennings has stayed with a more traditional approach to photographic theme. There is just something about black and white photography in the hands of an expert who is able to take the fall of sunlight on a wall, an aging building, or the softness of nude flesh on a bed and imply a story beyond just the formal composition itself.

Roxana Marroquin?s work has the quality of long forgotten memories in her series ?In the Realm of Shadows.? Each has the feel of an old daguerreotype lost in some ancient dusty drawer only to be discovered by a stranger.

J.M. Golding manipulates the image so that it seems to be dissolving, or decaying, into a dream-like state.

Adrienne Defendi?s photos are not so much dreamlike as indefinably nightmarish. In her ?Bath Time,? the composition of horizontals is broken only by the little arm and hand reaching up. The paper has a handmade feel to it, and even the edges of the image on the paper are more organic than they are right angles.

Then there is Russell Joslin, whose photos are rich with texture, contrast, and a slightly surreal quality. My personal favorite in the show is his ?Leg,? where a swirl of stripes seems to be sliding down into a garden. It took me a moment to realize that this was not a caterpillar, but a leg in exotic hose. 

Just as the Joslin was a fun surprise for me, you may well find that there are surprises waiting for you as among these Small Works.

The exhibition continues at Glass Growers Gallery, 10 E. Fifth St. until October 31, with an artist?s reception from 7 to 10 p.m. October 21. Gallery hours: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit glassgrowersgallery.com to learn more.

For more information on the Photomedia Center- visit photomediacenter.org or by contacting the Executive Director Eric Grignol, at eric@photomediacenter.org or 617.990.7867.

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Here are three good opportunities to lighten up as the nights grow longer.

Dancing Wheels bring a world premiere to Mercyhurst.

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