Photographs (by women) – at Bates through to March, 2015

Posted in EXHIBITS/SHOWS, Maine on November 18, 2014 by voxphotographs
Porch Dinner, 2014©Claire Seidl. All Rights Reserved. At Bates College Museum of Art through March, 2015.

Porch Dinner, 2014©Claire Seidl. All Rights Reserved. At Bates College Museum of Art through March, 2015.

The photography exhibit at Bates College Museum of Art, Photographs by Women: Recent Additions to the Permanent Collection, features the work of seven photographers from the USA and France. The works on view represents gifts to the Museum of Art in the last 4 years, as well as acquisitions targeted at growing the Museum’s permanent collection of photographs.

Although the “Photographs by Women” exhibit title may seem a bit, hmmm, sexist? dated? off-putting? to you at first, you’ll get over it once you see the exhibit. It’s just a handle and actually a fairly good one for the situation.

Claire Seidl captures the feeling of “Porch Dinner” perfectly in her image (above) – creating a video (very, very long exposure) in a still. It’s thinking outside the box and very successful thinking.

Denise Froehlich’s courageous and forthright series of male nudes is a showstopper and the almost sepia-toned, square images show a level of creativity maturity and risk-taking other photographers should find impressive.

Unknown   I want to go spend time with the book of photos of the Hutterites, Hutterite – A World of Grace (published in 1998) by Kristin Capp. The most interesting image on view from that series was this one of the boy below, and I want to get a sense of whether the body of work as a whole resonates with this intensity for me. I may take a second trip to the exhibit or drop into the Glickman Family Library, 5th floor, at the USM campus off Forest Ave. Did you ever see such a library of photo books?  And MECA has a terrific library of art books including a huge collection of photography books. Anybody can go to either collection and enjoy these resources, and if you have a Maine public library card, you can take many of the books out at MECA.

 

Hutterite, After School, Espanola Colony, WA, 1996©Kristin Capp. All Rights Reserved.

Hutterite, After School, Espanola Colony, WA, 1996©Kristin Capp. All Rights Reserved.

 

For me, the prize of the day were the eight black and white Irina Ionesco portraits. Ionesco got pretty famous after a show of photographs in Paris in 1974, and while these portraits are small (11.5″x9″), they pack an unforgettable punch, and that is a lesson in itself for other photographers. And not just because some of the content is erotic. With photo-based works getting larger and larger thanks to the technology of the digital print, I was grateful to be reminded that some artists’ works are so incredible that size doesn’t enter into your mind at all when you see them.

Untitled, 1975©Irina Ionesco. All Rights Reserved.

Untitled, 1975©Irina Ionesco. All Rights Reserved.

 

I had trouble getting much out of the remaining images by the other photographers (Sally Gall, Donna Ferrato and Susan Moldenhauer), but my sidekick of the day really loved the Ferrato street photography images of NYC. It’s a subjective thing, art appreciation.

So head to Lewiston and see what sticks in your own mind. There are worthy lessons here.

 

Tonee Harbert: Curiosities

Posted in EXHIBITS/SHOWS, Maine on November 3, 2014 by voxphotographs
Untitled (Harbor Crane), 2014©Tonee Harbert. All Rights reserved

Untitled (Harbor Crane), 2014©Tonee Harbert. All Rights reserved

Tonee Harbert, Portland-based photographer, is a curiosity himself.  I well remember his highly publicized photographic essay Elmer Walker: Hermit to Hero from the early/mid 90′s (essay by Carolyn Chute – remember her?) – and I was nowhere near the fine art photography scene in Maine at that time. But his place in that scene seems never to have solidified, and I find that strange.

Harbert’s work is quite fearless and not always an easy “gimme” to the viewer. On the other hand, many of my favorite images of his over the years are an easy entry point into the heart – kind of quietly… astonishing.

His show of 16 works on view at PhoPa Gallery (through December 6), represents ten years of shooting. The variety of presentation styles (face-mounted behind plexi, mounted on aluminum, paper prints) work well together in no small part because they are all framed professionally and in the same style – a significant investment that increases the credibility of a serious artist in my book. The images are all square format, sometimes creating a diptych, and in one piece, a triptych.

Untitled (Bridge Triptych), 2008©Tonee Harbert. All Rights Reserved

Untitled (Bridge Triptych), 2008©Tonee Harbert. All Rights Reserved

The exhibit speaks to Tonee’s image-making “vehicle of choice”: the Diana camera, introduced in the 60′s and manufactured in Hong Kong. Tonee writes that he likes that the Diana “distorts and vignettes” the image, and that its simplicity as an image-maker contrasts starkly “to the digital cameras I use for commercial assignments.”

Subjectively, I have several favorite images in the show, including Untitled (Harbor Crane), 2014 that kicks off this posting. The crowd favorite Untitled (3/4 Tree), 2011 is what fine photography is all about -  you want to chuckle at its absurdity, but then don’t follow through due to the dignity of the piece. The image is too right, doesn’t have a shred of irony in it, thank goodness, and is just pure Harbert – quiet, observant and worth your time.

Untitled (Three Quarter Tree), 2011©Tonee Harbert. All Rights Reserved

Untitled (3/4 Tree), 2011©Tonee Harbert. All Rights Reserved

 

I spent some time looking at this image below – Untitled (Nest), 2014 – but I just could not make out what the object in the water actually was. I finally put my reading glasses on, looked at the title on the label, and returned my gaze to the picture and understood I was looking at the equivalent of a symphony. This is one of the most extraordinary images I have ever felt: it gives you everything and gives you nothing – and you just can’t ask for a better visual experience than this.

 

Untitled (Nest), 2014©Tonee Harbert. All Rights Reserved

Untitled (Nest), 2014©Tonee Harbert. All Rights Reserved

 

Tonee Harbert (www.toneeharbertphoto.com) has had photographs published in National Geographic Traveler, Gourmet, Yankee Magazine, and Metropolitan Home, to name a few. Let’s appreciate that PhoPa is honoring this quietly brilliant voice right here in Portland.

 

Tonee Harbert exhibit notes and the "Diana" camera...

Tonee Harbert exhibit notes and the “Diana” camera…

Fall MUSEUM exhibits across the land…

Posted in EXHIBITS/SHOWS, New England, NYC, Other on November 3, 2014 by voxphotographs
Larry Clark, Untitled, 1963 from the series Tulsa, 1971. Now at the Chrysler Museum of Art through January 25, 2015

Larry Clark, Untitled, 1963 from the series Tulsa, 1971. Now at the Chrysler Museum of Art through January 19, 2015

 

PENNSYLVANIA:

James A. Michener Art MuseumWendy Paton: Nuit Blanche – through December 7.

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GEORGIA:

High MuseumWynn Bullock: Revelations -  through January 18, 2015. Gordon Parks: Segregation Story opens November 15 – June 7, 2015.

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VIRGINIA:

Chrysler Museum of ArtLarry Clark: The Tulsa Portfolio - through January 19, 2015

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Igor Stravinsky©Arnold Newman. All Rights Reserved. Now through January at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

Igor Stravinsky©Arnold Newman. All Rights Reserved. Through January, 2015 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

CALIFORNIA:

Cantor Arts Center at Stanford UniversityRobert Frank in America – through January 5, 2015

Contemporary Jewish MuseumArnold Newman: Masterclass – October 23 – February 1

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MASSACHUSETTS:

Museum of Fine Arts, BostonTruth and Beauty: Pictorialist Photography – through February 22, 2015

Portrait of Aubrey Beardsley©Frederick H. Evans - at Truth and Beauty, Museum of Fine Arts/Boston, through

Portrait of Aubrey Beardsley©Frederick H. Evans – at Truth and Beauty: Pictorialist Photographs -  MFA/Boston, through Feb. 22, 2015

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NEW MEXICO:

New Mexico History MuseumPoetics of Light: Pinhole Photography – through March 29, 2015

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MISSOURI

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of ArtAcross the Indian Country: Alexander Gardner - July 25 – Jan. 11, 2015

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November!

Posted in EXHIBITS/SHOWS, Maine on November 3, 2014 by voxphotographs
Buoy©Denise Froehlich. All rights reserved

Buoy©Denise Froehlich. All rights reserved. Now through March 2015 at Bates College Museum of Art.

 

Bates College Museum of ArtPhotographs by Women: Recent Additions to the Permanent Collection, through March 21, 2015.

 

Ingrid©Abigail Wellman. Nov. 6-Dec. 24 installation/22 gallery artists at VoxPhotographs.

Ingrid©Abigail Wellman. Nov. 6-Dec. 24 installation/22 gallery artists at VoxPhotographs.

VoxPhotographsGroup Show – 22 Maine artists represented – all photo-based art. Through December 24.

 

PhoPaTonee Harbert: Curiosities, through December 6. See blog posting here.

Untitled (Three Quarter Tree), 2011©Tonee Harbert. All Rights Reserved

Untitled (Three Quarter Tree), 2011©Tonee Harbert. All Rights Reserved

 

Addison Woolley @ 3FishGroup Show – photographs and paintings, through November 29. Opening Reception: November 7, 5-8.

Garden of Delights©Dave Wade. Addison Woolley at 3Fish, through November 28.

Garden of Delights©Dave Wade. Addison Woolley at 3Fish, through November 28.

 

Maine Museum of Photograhic ArtsValeri Nistratov – The Local Identity of Contemporary Euroasia, through December 29.

Enjoy Love©Valeri Nistratov. At the Maine Museum of Photographic Arts, through December 29.

Enjoy Love©Valeri Nistratov. At the Maine Museum of Photographic Arts, through December 29.

 

Maine College of Art, Charles C. Thomas GalleryMark Marchesi, Recent Work, through December 17.

Port Maitland Wharf, Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, 2013©Mark Marchesi at MECA Charles C. Thomas Gallery through December 17.

Port Maitland Wharf, Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, 2013©Mark Marchesi at MECA Charles C. Thomas Gallery through December 17.

 

 

Living and Sustaining a Creative Life

Posted in Photography Books, READ THIS!, REVIEWS on May 19, 2014 by voxphotographs

I requested Living and Sustaining a Creative Life – Essays from 40 Working Artists, edited by Sharon Louden, from Maine’s InterLibrary Loan (ILL) program and was pleased to find it available – only one copy at this point – but I was encouraged that at least MECA had it in its stacks and was willing to share it. Of any place this book should be, it’s MECA.

Unknown

Even though it’s around $35, I would suggest any artist making, or planning to make his/her living as an artist, invest in a copy as soon as possible. Reading it could save you from falling into the black hole of idealism, or provide a ladder for you to climb out of a hole you’ve found yourself in while trying to make “it” happen.

The 40 essays really are well-edited and surprisingly readable. Once in a while you get the sense an artist enjoys a little too much the experience of writing about ME ME ME, but the overall and engaging frankness of the essays makes this book a powerful resource for other artists, yes, but also gallerists and curators. (And, I should add, the family members sharing the journey with those who have made the huge commitment to making a career as an artist. I have been married to a painter for over 40 years, and have been a gallerist for 7. I found it extremely valuable reading from both of those vantage points.)

Here are 40 stories by artists about the ups and downs they have experienced trying to make a living. The sheer number of essays really gives this book credibility for me. You just can’t have an agenda with 40 people telling their stories. What struck me as I worked my way through the book over a week’s time is the similarities that start to take shape in these stories. Many artists pay their way by teaching, others by working jobs in art galleries and museums, still others by obtaining public art commissions and grants. And one of the most important points made by almost every artist is that there are people in their lives without whom they could not have made it happen.

Another comment about how important associations are is the one that really sticks with me as I finish up this important and long overdue publication: Artist Brian Tolle writes: “Ultimately, the key to running my studio relatively successfully has been my ability to interweave all these realms of art; to be nimble, to recognize the strengths and talents of the people working with and for me, and never associate myself with those who say that something cannot be done.”

I agree completely. If you don’t have that kind of spine, choose another way of life. Being an artist is not for the fainthearted.

 

Justin Kirchoff: “Half-Life” at the George Marshall Store Gallery

Posted in EXHIBITS/SHOWS, Maine on May 2, 2014 by voxphotographs

Definitely Justin Kirchoff is justified in making a big deal of being 40. It’s a complicated time psychologically – you feel free, you feel old, you feel anxious and regretful, you feel an odd relief, and deep panic. It’s not the same as a “mid-life crisis”. Those are all about denial. At 40, you figure you’re halfway “there”, and now you need to figure out how to make the last half count.

Half-Life – now on view at the George Marshall Store Gallery in York through June 1 – is a show of 14 exquisitely crafted silver gelatin (and one digital print) prints by Justin Kirchoff  – and the works express just the right kind of limbo – you’ve got one foot on the shore of youth, (and here is where some people get permanent neck cramp looking back at what is lost), while your other foot is trying to find secure placement facing forward so you can set off with a strong and sure stride towards…well, who knows? And that kind of says it all.

Doorway©Justin Kirchoff

Doorway©Justin Kirchoff. All Rights Reserved

Justin’s psyche is seriously impacted by the birth of a daughter, Parrish, in 2002. He buys a house somewhere in there, and his dad is hospitalized. Yep, the past, the present and the future, comin’ at ya.

The 15 images on exhibit represent the years from 2007 – 2014. It felt motley as a group to me when I viewed it, but after hearing from Justin about how he selected these particular images to be exhibited together, I’m less concerned with that and think the lack of fluidity may be part of his point. But I do think these particular images could have been installed differently, and that would have allowed the viewer more engagement. A long artist’s statement tries to bridge the gap between artist and viewer, but like almost every artist’s statement out there, it’s more a philosophy paper and waaay too much information for what is supposed to be a visual experience. A statement comprised of a couple of sentences, together with a more coherent installation would have allowed the photographs to do the talking and that is a very, very big point with me. Why do visual artists feel such a strong need to verbalize their work? (see my most recent addition to PHOTOQUOTES on the VoxPhotographs website here)

 

House of Cards©Justin Kirchoff. All Rights Reserved

House of Cards©Justin Kirchoff. All Rights Reserved

The strongest images are those which make composition a priority, like “House of Cards” above. It’s a brilliant concept content-wise, totally supported by the design of the image. Another image “Rough House” shows father and daughter in the midst of a rowdy moment indoors, but the design of the piece, together with Justin’s perfect expression of “how did I get here?” combine to make it a total success.

The picture below, “Snow Flake Study” was a good choice for the exhibit flagship image for two reasons; it’s an excellent example of how Justin addresses the sidebars instead of the more obvious headlines of life at 40. (You can also see this insight in “Ramp Test” – a seemingly innocuous photo that, upon longer engagement, is closer to stand-up comedy: Justin designing a ramp for a small dirt bike using a precariously thin sheet of plywood and large plastic garbage cans.  Oh, the things we do!) But “Snow Flake Study” speaks so eloquently of Justin’s love for his daughter and the single-most important need any child has: our total attention.

Snow Flake Study©Justin Kirchoff. All Rights Reserved

Snow Flake Study©Justin Kirchoff. All Rights Reserved

One last little treat as you reach the end of the exhibit is the image “Invisible Man” – you’ll get a grin at no cost for your trip to see this show – the cherry on top, so to speak.

By the way, Justin Kirchoff is the recipient of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Artist Advancement Grant, and it’s a darn generous grant. This “Momentum XII” exhibit is under the Foundation’s auspices. The Foundation’s grants are limited to a very small region of Maine and New Hampshire, but check it out. It may be worth moving!

UMMA – recent photograph acquisitions on view!

Posted in EXHIBITS/SHOWS, Maine on April 1, 2014 by voxphotographs

The recently received brochure from the University of Maine Museum of Art includes “Looking Back Six Years – Part One” – an exhibit opening April 4 (through June 7) that highlights photograph additions (through purchase and artist gifts) to the Museum’s permanent collection since 2008.

There are approximately 40 images on view and it is very much worth a trip to enjoy this strong presentation. Most of the images celebrate people, but there are a few vintage and contemporary NYC images to round it out.

The Night Before, 2009 Gelatin silver print Museum Collection: Stebbins and Schildknecht Fund

The Night Before, 2009
Gelatin silver print©Ilya Askinazi
Museum Collection: Stebbins and Schildknecht Fund

 

We also LOVED the creations of Jay Kelly, represented by Jim Kempner Fine Art, NYC. They are truly original and highly entertaining to spend time with!

Enjoy these creations by Jay Kelly - Works from 2007-2014 - while at the University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor. Through June 7.

Enjoy these creations by Jay Kelly – Works from 2007-2014 – while at the University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor. Through June 7.

 

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