Sunday, November 05, 2006

PROOF: In Black and White, artSPACE@16 in Malden

I've mentioned the current show PROOF: In Black and White several times in my blogs, but I haven't actually taken the time to talk about my thoughts on the show itself, artSPACE@16, nor Sand T -- the phenomenal artist, gallery founder and director.

Let's talk about the show itself. PROOF: In Black and White is a juried exhibition (for those not familiar with the term -- it means that the participating artworks are chosen by a juror, who is often an expert on the subject--in this case, photography). The juror is Paul Wainwright, a traditional black and white large format (referring those old large cameras that you use with a black cloth over your head) photographer. The requirement to enter the show is that traditional film and darkroom processing must be used to produced these images. On the jury day, Paul went around and picked the pieces judging solely on their artistic merit and without seeing the artists' names.

When I dropped off my work, I knew I had tough competition. The caliber of the work present was very impressive. And on the opening of the show, I felt immensely honored to be exhibiting my work among such wonderful photographs--and I learned a lot of their wonderful techniques. Here are some of artists with the most striking pieces and unique techniques. Paul Weiner's work shown here is one of them. He used a large format camera set on long exposure and flashed a flashlight over the room to draw patterns on the wall.

Chris Yeager's medium format studio portrait of singer-songwriter Rose Polenzani is shown on the left.

Silke Hase's Holga image (shown here on right) gives me new inspiration to try a Holga.

Erik Hansen's (left) abstract long/double exposure of a model set up in his studio.

Robert William Streeter
prints and processes a single image with multiple negatives--American Sarum is shown below right.

Elsa Campbell (left) brushed developer onto silver gelatin paper, instead of putting it into a developer bath as you would normally, thereby creating a unique print every time.

Now about the gallery artSPACE@16 and Sand T... This is the fourth show I've attended there, though it's the first time I'm exhibiting. For first time visitors who don't know anything about the place, they are often shocked to find that it is a converted garage in a secluded residential neighborhood in Malden. It's a hidden gem and well worth the trek. Sand T had pretty much converted her garage into a gallery using her own pocket money and created such professional exhibitions that got wonderful media attention. It is rated in the Boston Globe as one of the best galleries by Raphaela Platow, curator at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. Sand T has worked tirelessly for years to bring this sort of attention to artSPACE@16. One can only imagine the struggle. Oh, did I mention that she doesn't even ask for commissions from her artists who make a sale??? I was flabbergasted when I heard this. She says she'll only hope for donations from the artists, and I can only hope that the artists know about this donation policy. Having just had a one-year project of a gallery myself (what was Pigmentia Gallery in Medford is now run by Marc Gurton and renamed 13FOREST Gallery), I know how tough it is to juggle the show schedules, getting money and time to have exhibitions. I am relieved that I'm on the other side now, but it certainly gives me a special appreciation for the gallery directors who put together shows for us -- and the commissions are justified.

As a person, Sand T is warm, generous, helpful and embracing to all artists around her. She is resourceful and can literally build walls and pedestals, paint and do anything to make any space look like a museum. When I first opened Pigmentia Gallery, Sand T introduced herself to me and connected me to not only the Malden art community but many artist communities all over Massachusetts. She is a very talented artist in her own right, though I know it must be hard to find time to do her own work with so many exhibitions going on. From this link you can see some of her work: Sand T crosses many media disciplines. She's an installation artist, sculptor, painter, and photographer. Just spend five minutes with her and you'll feel energized.

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