Perkins Center for The Arts
January 30- March 6th, 2011
Noah Addis. Future Cities: Lima
The thirtieth annual photography show opened yesterday at the Perkins Center for the Arts in Moorestown, NJ to a packed house of visitors who mingled among the gallery rooms on two floors. 82 works from 75 artists are now on exhibit until March 6th.
The show consists of an amazing variety of processes, and in my opinion this presents both the strength and weakness of a show of this type. While the majority of work in the show is digitally based, there is a strong showing of traditional and alternate processed work including Silver Gelatin work of course, but also the following processes; Polarized & Oxidized Gelatin Silver, Toned Silver Gelatin, Tea-Toned Silver Gelatin,Hand Painted prints, several Palladium prints, a Sheimpflug 4 X 5, and a Tintype Dry Plate 4 X 5. Among the digital formats there were Giclee prints, Sepia toned, Digital Construction/Illustration work, an HDR print, and more than a few pieces with obvious post production work.
It was wonderful to see such a variety of processes on display in a single show and it is a true testament to the hand crafted and artistic element that still remains in photography today in spite of the digital tidal wave. That said, I think shows like this face the danger of crossing into the realm of sentimentality and gratuity with regard to their treatment of the older, and even some of the newer alternate processes. Of the five juror awards given, one went to the only Tintype entry, and the other went to a large digital HDR print. It is my opinion that these awards were given solely as a reflection of their process, and not on artistic merit. If you go see this show, look for these two photographs and judge for yourself.
Beyond that small complaint, this is a wonderful and visually exciting exhibit, and I found several photographers whose work is really stunning. Top admiration goes to Noah Addis, whose print from his series Future Cities: Lima won a juror award as well as the Museum Purchase Award from the Philadelphia Art Museum. Other strong work in the show included Lisa Boutcher's Periphery, Jeff Martin's Deer Seasoning, Eduardo Lara's See Spot Run, and Sarah Bloom's And You're to Blame.
Something that struck me as amazing, especially in the context of viewing Palladium prints, Tintypes, and many other photographic forms from the olden days, is the fact that I can go to a show, find several photographers whose work I like, go home, Google their names, find their websites, locate them on Facebook or Flickr, all within hours of seeing their work for the very first time. This was inconceivable not too long ago, and it opens up an entire new world of exposure to any photographer or artist, regardless of their chosen process technique.
Go see this show and enjoy the wide open world of photographic technique