Fresh: The Wall—Ed Barnas
The summer show, “Fresh: The Wall/The Page/The Internet”, at Klompching Gallery highlights the work of five contemporary fine art photographers chosen for their consistent vision and strong viewpoint by collector Fred Bidwell and gallery co-owner Darren Ching. Walking into the gallery I was immediately struck by Tabitha’s Soren’s cinematic images from her “Running” series. One might even think that the six-digit number and year used to identify each image was cinematic time code. The subjects in the color pigment prints recall the protagonists in Hitchcock films - people literally “on the run” but not knowing from whom or for what reason they run. Caught in mid-stride, their anxiety is palpable. While others carry on nonchalantly, they look apprehensively to the back or side.
Stasis rather than motion comes across in Martin Bogren’s “Lowlands” images, a look back at his childhood village in Sweden. The square format, careful composition, shallow focus and vignetted corners in these silver gelatin prints all serve to concentrate the viewer’s attention within the frame and to enhance the mood of both mystery and reminiscence. The landscape may be familiar to viewers of the televised Kurt Wallender mysteries, but Bogren’s vision reminded me more of the cinematography in Ingmar Bergman’s early b&w films.
Monika Marva’s digital C-prints from “Origins of an Emotion” were hung opposite Borgen’s work. These images also had a feeling of quiet stasis about them, but with a greater sense of intimacy and a hint of ambiguity. At first glance “Wet” looks like a close-up of wet hair on the back of a neck. Closer inspection reveals the full back, though the pattern of the hair recalls a face. Portraits of Doki and Branka exhibit a quiet reverie and wariness.
Shawn Rocco’s abstract color studies contrasted with the figurative work of the others. His “Flicker” series explores the pulsations of fluorescent light tubes. While perceived as continuous light by the human eye, they actually fluctuate at specific frequencies, both along the length of the tube and in total intensity. As captured by Rocco, the light breaks down into intriguing patterns behind the sharply focused translucent grill of the fixtures. The digital C-prints from Series I are clean vertical rectangles in square black mats that emphasize the colors. A departure from the photojournalistic work for which he is known, it takes the viewer’s perception “below the surface” of a commonplace object.
The final set of images is a collaborative effort from Barbara Ciurej & Lindsay Lochman: Cyanotype photograms of plants and flowers overlaid on pigment prints of portrait busts silhouetted in black. Each image is a unique print. These creations are akin to a figurative Roschark test, calling to mind multiple references: astronomical images of nebulae, the Na’vi of “Avatar,” the Green Man of mythology, or even the Davey Jones character in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.
These the images will also appear in the August issue of Blink Magazine and on the web at Flak Photo Online.