SHOUT OUT: Taking it to another level!
During the years when people were still questioning photography as a viable art form for gallery attention, The Rice/Polak Gallery in Provincetown continued an Annual Photography Show that proved all doubters wrong.
Now in it’s ninth year, the line-up for this one is exceptional in quality and scope. All eight artists offer eye-opening takes on the world you couldn’t have made without their initial vision.
In her latest series of work, Judith Brassard Brown, a professor of painting at Monserrat College of Art, has made a 180-degree turn away from her large, sun-burned Italian landscapes to concentrate on small, intensely personal images made in layered puzzle-pieces of painting, pictures of paintings, and partially painted over photographs.
Brown’s is a loose and playful hand and her unique, un-simple pieces demand study. She constructs a broken surface filled with depth, color, and the unnerving, bulls-eye shifting between precise photographic image, gestural paint, and the overlapping edges of collage. They feel set in emotional, family time, part bucolic, part yearning.
Barbara Abel presents an unforgettable series, which are, in fact, portraits of portraits. In heart-breaking, clear color, Abel has blown up into our vision the haunting beauty of turn-of-the-century (19th – early 20th) European wax mannequins, each the individual likeness of a human model. Human and icon, real and effigy, vulnerable and brittle, painted and virginal, alarming and arresting, these pictures have staying-power.
For several years Rice/Polak has given us the vaulting work of Walter Crump.
Using pin-hole cameras he constructs himself, Crump, a nationally recognized photographer, goes beyond the picture’s limits to turn city architecture as fluid as a rollercoaster. But in spite of the extreme, almost hallucinatory distortions he works with, Crump retains the dignified, monumental presence in each one. Using toners and bleaches, he crafts a subtle, glowing complexity of color; bronzes, ivories, ochres, at once somber and light-filled.
David Moore’s jarring black and white gelatin silver prints, touch on the emergence and disintegration of identity in literal symbols. He writes, “I see some of these beings as attempting to emerge into the world, struggling for definition. Others wish to cloak their identity or live in a purgatory of half-formed selves.”
Using a $15, plastic Holga camera, Jeffrey Schifman creates velvet-toned, dream-like images that highlight a dynamically composed central figure, its surroundings swimming into soft blur that emphasizes the singular power of the focused-on subject, be it a swan’s arched neck, or the back of a rooftop pigeon serenely surveying its vast city kingdom.
In the press of much larger images in the exhibit, it is worth taking time with Maurine Sutter’s small, fresh-colored, hand-tinted silver prints, mostly of summer-lit, plastic blow-up beach toys. They wind up being perfect subjects for Sutter’s time-honored technique, used by photographers before color film was invented.
She develops her images on matte-finished, fiber based paper which gives her work a cool, dry look. Sutter’s labor-intensive, delicately applied colors and her awareness of glowing light make the most unlikely objects luminous, and truly beautiful.
Also worth paying attention to are Mathew Chase-Daniel’s large format, multiple sequential photographs assembled into a grid to form continual large scale vistas, and Christine Triebert’s seemingly timeless, smoky, fog-softened toned silver-prints of the New England and Irish countrysides.
Through Oct. 31 at the Rice/Polak Gallery, 430 Commercial St., Provincetown. 487-1052.
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