While the annual Photo Regional may be the best barometer of what’s happening in the medium, the “Best of” exhibition series at the Photo Center of the Capital District in Troy, now in its second year, is becoming the gauge of emerging talent.
With 25 artists, “Best of 2009” is rough around the edges, but that’s its charm. The 52 frames jam the center’s cluttered space with a salon feel. It’s easy to miss the pictures lining the tight and winding hallway leading to a “Do Not Enter” sign on a back door.
Exposed pipes and some works hanging on an odd partition — wobbly as walls in an office cubicle — add to its casual, unfinished feel.
A majority of the frames are landscapes — many of the tried-and-true variety — yet nearly all exhibit a high level of technical execution. There are no real surprises, but some do push the medium. As last year, many artists have taken up photography recently; about one-fifth of the entries were unknown to organizers.
Like the Photo Regional, the “Best of” is organized through an open call. Submissions are whittled down to the best of a single artist. In a new twist, the works not making it to the walls are shown in a video compilation. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their three favorites in keeping with the center’s mission of developing new photographers.
In keeping with that spirit, here are my three selections:
“Hotel Movement” by Diane Reiner. A black-and-white geometric image that toggles between the ideas of existence and buildings, work and play, home and travel caught by a keen eye for the moment.
“Storm King at Dusk” by Lynn Palmiter. The Hudson River Valley has been the subject of some great art over the years, and this image adds a level of foreboding and mystery.
“Merging Earth and Sky” by Cheryle Gowie. Using a long exposure, the black-and-white image literally drags the sky to the tree tops, while its use of watercolor paper with various coatings frays the ends into jagged forms.
‘Emerging Artists 2010′
Most of the artists don’t have regular gallery representation; none went to a formal art school. They seem content to stay on the fringes of the art scene, breaking academic rules of color, form, material and composition with brooding, unabashed glee.
They are gathered in an exhibition called “Emerging Artists 2010” at the Limner Gallery in Hudson through March 27.
The pen/ink and digital image “DJ Change” by Gavin Weir has an Obama-esque figure spinning tunes at a decadent party with dollar bill-laden donkeys and elephants grinding and bumping on stripper poles. “Mary” by Tamara Staser-Meltzer is a caustic paper collage showing a deconstructed Jesus’ mother as anything but a virgin.
E. Thurston Belmer’s “A Red Home” takes the form of a homey and sedate 19th-century portrait, but startles with its pain and longing, while the highly graphic head shot on oil and canvas in “Obey” by Tim French conjures up fear and loathing in an autocratic society. There’s a rough quality of youth to the exhibition, and a wide variety of skill.