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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Found Items the Common Thread of New Kershner Exhibit

Found Items the Common Thread of New Kershner Exhibit:
“Objectively Speaking” kicks off at Fairfield Library gallery
(Posted to 3/14)
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Fairfield, CT – A discarded apple. Deer antlers. Tire treads. These items were some of the “found” objects featured in a new local photography exhibit titled “Objectively Speaking.”

The exhibit, which showcases the photography of Ann Chrisman, Daniel Long and Timothy Pyle, is featured at the Bruce S. Kershner Gallery in the Fairfield Library, 1080 Old Post Road. The work was celebrated with an opening reception and talk by the artists Saturday afternoon March 12. The photos will be on view during library hours until April 23.

Janine Brown, who is on the library’s curatorial committee, explained how the exhibit came to fruition. “We get a constant flow of submissions for the gallery and, as we review them, we determine if they fit the aesthetic of the library. Then we sort by theme. We recognized that these particular artists all used found objects as their subject matter. Ann’s work tends to be abstract. Tim takes his camera wherever he goes and really creates a walking diary. Daniel takes found objects and composes them into still lifes.” 

Photographer Chrisman, a Trumbull resident, commented on her style and focus. “The subject matter of my works in this exhibit, which are black-and-white silver gelatin prints, were all inspired by a found setting, a construction site at Westport’s Staples High School when it was being renovated several years ago,” she said. “The compositions are about tension and release. I always work in found settings, and the element of chance is important in my work.”

Chrisman uses minimal equipment in her approach. “The only thing I use is a 1974 35-mm Nikon. I prefer it because of the richness of the negative. And I don’t use light meters as that’s part of the element of chance and underscores the relevance of my presence in the moment.”

Chrisman added, “My job is not to know what my subjects are necessarily, but to elevate the ordinary to create a dialogue.”

Photographer Long, who lives in Storrs and is also a professor of photography at Manchester Community College, explained his own inspiration. “Most of these things I’ve found by accident,” he said. “In my piece ‘Antlers and Tulip’, I found the antlers in nearby woods at the end of winter. The background in that piece is a copper wash boiler shaped like a tombstone. The tulip was grown in my garden. The composition symbolizes my constant battle to keep deer out of my garden. I imagine if I tacked this image up in my backyard, it would be a good warning to the deer.”

Long said the composition work is new for him. “I started this approach in February last year,” he said. “This is the first time I’m not doing people portraits and the first time I’m using color. It’s also the first time I’m working with a camera on a tripod versus taking spontaneous shots. This has been interesting for me. The work is so new, I don’t know where it is headed.”

Photographer Pyle, who has lived in Fairfield for the past six years, explained his process. “I walk around a lot with my camera and photograph things that catch my eye,” he said. “Often, those are things that resonate very personally with me… things out of the ordinary, things overlooked by passersby, or considered unworthy of being a photo subject.”

As an example, Pyle pointed to his piece “Apple and Ants”. “The subject is a half-eaten discarded apple covered with ants,” he said. “It’s a less than ideal capture of an apple, which people often want to be perfect. But even when things don’t measure up to a certain standard of beauty, there’s still an inherent measure of attractiveness to it.”

Admiring the various work was Candace Chase of Weston. “I’m enjoying the work of these three very different artists,” she said. “Ann’s work is very close-up and form focused. Tim’s work makes me think of moments in time and space. And Dan’s work is very composed and manipulated.”

Liz Tardif of Westport had already adopted a favorite style of photography. “I particularly like Daniel’s work. The juxtaposition of something soft and colorful against a harsh, dark background. Really, though, all the pieces are inspiring.”

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