Friday, May 9, 2008


Megan McNeer "Pomegranite"

Went by Opal Gallery to see "Ka-Chunk"

an exhibition of Medium Format Photography. The show was co-curated with SCAD masters candidate, Lee Jones, and included the work of fellow SCAD students along with other photographers who responded to a Call for Entry.

Julie Sims "Light After Dark 3"

There is a disconnect for me in saying a show was curated when there was a Call for Entry involved, which sounds more like a juried show, especially considering the unifying theme was simply the use of a Medium Format Camera, and nothing more conceptual.

Nicole Akstein "Pool, Bradley Beach, New Jersey" 2005 (from North series)

While the hanging of the show was done thoughtfully, eking out connections between the various artists and photographs, the broader theme of the Medium Format Camera itself was left relatively untouched. I was curious to see this show after reading the press release, surprised to hear of a show of nothing but Medium Format work in a time when photographers are turning to digital in rapid numbers or instead sticking with their large format cameras for the pristine detail.

Lee Jones "Village of Yesterday"

To champion the Medium Format camera now, to examine why particular photographers are sticking with an aging tool is interesting, right? But I found no insights into this, instead viewing images that could have just as easily been shot digitally.

Allyson Ross "Folding Table (Part of the Goethe Ave. Series)"

The photographers in the show took a straight documentary approach to shooting, composing quiet observations in the details of the day to day. Photographer Allyson Ross added a needed dimension to the show with her "Goethe Ave." series of miniature interiors.

Allyson Ross "Fridge (Part of the Goethe Ave. Series)"

The photographs reminded me of another SCAD related show and the work of Jessica Dodd, who also photographs domestic scenes created with miniature dollhouse accessories (is this a trend?) but Ross's images push the depth of field to create a surreal, almost abstracted environment surrounding highly detailed pieces of furniture.

Allyson Ross "Chair (Part of the Goethe Ave. Series)"

The three photographs by Ross were placed apart, one on each of the three walls, drawing links to the other interior shots and photographs of domestic details, all embodying a similar loneliness packed with visual clues for the voyeur's interpretation.

Darin Melton "I Sat"

Darin Melton's photograph of a chair brought a nice reality check to the strange dreamworld Ross created with the plaid lay-z-boy. (I also saw Melton's work at the Beep Beep show Plastic Makes Perfect last year)

Gallery owner Constance Lewis was nice enough to talk about the show with me and I was excited to learn that the gallery will be taking advantage of its unique location this summer to show a film projected directly onto the front of the gallery. From what I heard it will definitely be an event worth attending.

The show has been extended an extra week, go check it out and draw your own conclusions on the current state of the Medium Format.


Cinque said...

That old "curating" dog just won't die. According to Art Relish this show was both curated and juried. I don't know what that means. It seems that "curating" now indicates some sort of general supervisory or administrative type work, while the actual selection of artwork can be outsourced to someone else.

Miss Darrow said...

One of my biggest peeves is seeing a show that discloses that it was a call-for-entry. It seems to me to belittle the work, and doesn't claim any kind of ownership for putting the show together. They want to make it clear that just in case it's a flop, it wasn't their fault, they just didn't get enough entries. I would be upset if I were one of the artists.

On a brighter note though, I am glad that you posted Allyson Ross' work. I have only seen her jewelry, and I can see where she gets a lot of her work from. It seems like she uses a similar vintaged asethetic. Her jewelry uses a lot of recycled materials, including diaries, pieces of desks, fabrics, you name it. Anyways, intersting to see the comparison.

Jonathan said...

To be fair, Opal Gallery does not consider the show a juried show, and did not state anywhere that there was a call for entry involved (that I could see anyway). I only know this because I saw the actual call for entry (handled by the curator, who is not an employee of the gallery) - but considering there was a $15 fee associated with applying, this was very much a standard call for entry process used by the curator to gather artists. Which, as was discussed at length on thoughtmarker, does not seem like the appropriate method for a curator to use.

On a different note- its interesting to hear Ross designs jewelry - she is definitely intrigued by the miniature.

Julie said...

As one of the artists in this show I can say that there was indeed a call for entries, and it was originally billed as a juried show. The later addition of the "curated" bit confused me, too.

In my understanding, a show cannot actually be both juried and curated; it's one or the other. Juried shows involve a call-for-entry, usually based around a theme and usually with an entry fee. That pretty much sums up what took place here. Curated shows, on the other hand, are supposed to be what happens when a curator puts together [without a call-for-entry] a coherent show from among artists s/he is familiar with the work of, that s/he feels would play well together.

However, I was just in a show that had a call for entries, but was said to be curated by Susan Todd-Raque, so I'm not exactly sure how the distinction between "juried" and "curated" was made there, either.

Being in a call-for-entry show doesn't offend me; in my experience most juried shows are call-for-entry. However it is true that a curated show [created properly] is a higher honor for the artist... it is more of an "invitational" selection based on a reputation they have already established for themselves, as opposed to jumping into a limited-pool competition.

PS to Jonathan: I've been reading LE for a long time now, but I think this is the first time I've commented. Hello! I have really enjoyed your writing about the shows you see, and have been compelled to go see several of them based on your reviews. Good stuff, thanks.

Jonathan said...


thanks for your input! I got the impression that the "curating" aspect took place largely in the way the show was hung - or at least that is when the toughtest decisions were made in terms of how the show would be viewed.

I really enjoyed your piece in the show, it was the first image I was drawn to when I entered the gallery - but I have always been fascinated by the contrast of artificial street lights with a colorful evening sky - your image caught that exactly.

Julie said...


Thanks very much for the compliment! I confess, I've always hoped you'd review a show that I was in. ;) That's from a larger series that I have some more of at [Sorry it wouldn't let me make that a link; I'm not familiar with blogger and I'm doing something wrong. Also please bear with what is passing for my "photography site" while I'm trying to find time to put together a real one!]

Putting that way, I can see how it could be said that a curatorial aspect figured into the show. I was at the GSU BFA show the night of the hanging so I didn't get to participate in that; I suspect it was a challenge with the space as compact as it is.