Thursday, June 9, 2011

33rd Photo Regional at Albany Center Gallery

Sebastien Barre - Poolside
Wandering into the freshly hung 33rd Photo Regional at Albany Center Gallery is a little like stepping into the past. Very few of the 35 pictures in this year's show reveal anything of having been made in the post-digital age. In fact, outside those few pieces, this could almost be the 3rd Photo Regional rather than the 33rd.

Deb Baldwin - Bryan
If that sounds like a criticism, it's not. In fact, I take this circumstance as a positive sign that our fascination with the potential of digital photographic techniques may be waning, in favor of the tried-and-true traditional techniques that allow photographers to do what their medium has always done best: directly record and transmit visual experience.

Selected by a savvy pair of curators (Ian Berry, of the Tang Teaching Museum, and Melissa Stafford, recently of Carrie Haddad Photographs), this show maintains a level of quality typical of its 32 predecessors, which is to say that it has some soaring moments of revelation, along with some "I wonder why they chose that" moments, and the thematic inconsistency inherent in the juried-show format.

That inconsistency is exacerbated by the fact that all but six of the 29 photographers included are represented by just one picture each - and, even of the six people with two pictures each, just three present a related pair, while the other three present two clearly unrelated pictures. A broad range of styles is expected in a regional, but it is difficult to get much of an impression of the individual artists' intentions when nearly all the pictures shown are singletons.

Jeff Altman - Crime Scene
Fortunately, ACG's new creative director, Tony Iadicicco, has structured this rich stew with groupings and sly juxtapositions that make the most out of the hidden themes among its elements. So, for example, one corner plays a game with lines and patterns that link images of architecture, landscape, and the figure. Another spot connects back views and gestures in photos of vastly differing scale; and another sets two very different but equally penetrating portraits in relation to each other.

Anthony Salamone - Katie the Welder
Part of the fun of every juried show is seeing who gets the prizes. At this writing, the show has had an opening reception, but the awards reception is yet to come - which gives me the opportunity to try to predict who the judges have favored. Of course, they've already culled nearly 500 submission by 101 artists to the present group, which makes my job pretty easy.

Here are my picks: Mark McCarty's greatly enlarged cellphone snap, Sebastien Barre's wry industrial post-mortem, and Deb Baldwin's Surrealist throwback in black and white will all win prizes. Also worthy of note are two shots by Anthony Salamone, one of which echoes important color work by Philip Lorca DiCorcia; Deb Hall's thought-provoking digital manipulations of large-format views; and an improbable but almost believable conjunction of sea and sky by Linda Morell.

There will be an Artists' Reception at the gallery from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 11th, with awards to be announced at 7. Get there early to make your picks - then we can all check to see how we did.

Rating: Recommended

Mark McCarty - MK # 0570



3 comments:

Sebastien said...

Thanks for the support David. Some great photos on display, I'm happy to be in this company but I doubt this will go much further than that :) As you pointed out, the ACG did a very nice job setting up the work.

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

Those are some great photos that you've posted on your blog, thanks for sharing.

Tyler said...

Love the visuals.