by LookSEE | February 12, 2018
February just might unofficially be the month of photography in Richmond this year, with a diverse array of images on view at galleries and alternative spaces all around the city.
Albert Einstein said that “the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Candela Gallery shows the work of photographers exclusively, and the eight artists in the current exhibition, Science as Muse, share a common creative inspiration in science.
Science, the cohesion behind the show, turns out to be a pretty rich vein. “Once we came up with this concept,” gallery owner Gordon Stettinius explains, “it was a pretty simple jump to the early photographers being scientists. They were chemists. They were alchemists. They were definitely trying to do something that, in its time, was magical. I think today, that spirit of discovery is still pretty much in play.” Artists in this exhibition use varying techniques and aesthetic approaches to get at both sides - the scientific process of capturing and fixing an image and the quest to explain the mysterious, to make the unseen visible. Science As Muse, featuring photographic works from Walter Chappell, Caleb Charland, Rose-Lynn Fisher, Pam Fox, Daniel Kariko, Michael Rauner, Robert Shults, and Susan Worsham, is on view at Candela Gallery through February 17th.
On the other side of town, Page Bond Gallery’s annual View Find photography show is on view. This year’s group exhibition includes work by Penny Ashford, Mary Ellen Bartley, Christa Bowden, Terry Brown and Gordon Stettinius, David Douglas, Jeri Eisenberg, Wylie Garcia, Elijah Gowin, Emmet Gowin, Torkil Gudnason, Cynthia Henebry, Sally Mann, Ben Marcin, Amanda Means, Holly Morrison, Paulette Tavormina, and William Wylie. In putting together this show each year, gallery owner Page Bond thinks that it is essential to stay open to all forms of photography. Today’s photographers are not limited strictly to the camera as a tool. They use a myriad of processes in their practice. Some of the work in this show, such as the mesmerizing large-scale image of a simple water glass by Amanda Means, doesn’t make use of a camera at all. For other artists, like Richmond-based photographer Cynthia Henebry, the camera is essential to the process. The deliberate nature of using a large-format camera is key to creating moments of connection between her and the children she photographs.
Bond often finds herself interested in subject matter and how it relates to our time. This year, several artists reflect on the environment in their work, including Penny Ashford’s aerial views of the world’s oceans, Emmitt Gowen’s images of moths that bring to mind scientific classification, and Elijah Gowen’s photos of falling snow. But sometimes it is simply compelling or unexpectedly beautiful imagery that catches her eye, like Jeri Eisenberg’s glowing Golden Trumpets, printed on Kozo paper infused with encaustic medium. View Find 7 is on view at Page Bond Gallery through February 17th.
Across Main Street, the Click exhibition returns to glave kocen gallery after a 4-year hiatus featuring work by 17 photographers and curated by Scott Elmquist of Style Weekly and BJ Kocen. Elmquist and Kocen put a lot of emphasis on mastering process and technique with the images they chose for this show. They offer examples of everything from pinhole photography, with Steve Griffin's nostalgic-feeling images of Colonial Beach, to Lanvi Nguyen's digitally disassembled and reassembled abstraction The artists in this exhibition are mainly from Richmond but all from Virginia, with a mission to show the depth of photography through a wide range of process and perspective. Click IV also prides itself on bringing together seasoned professionals alongside emerging photographers. On February 17th, glave kocen is hosting a “Click & Tell” in-the-round gallery talk in conjunction with this show, inviting all of the show artists to tell the story of their images. Click IV, featuring the work of Virginia photographers Alex Nyerges, Andy Snow, Brent Cavedo, Cyane Lowden, David Parrish, Jeff Saxman, John Henley, Jude Dizon, Lanvi Nguyen, Rebecca D'Angelo, Scott Elmquist, Shelby Lum, Steve Griffin, and Zachery Reid, is on view at glave kocen gallery through February 24th.
As part of an ongoing series of exhibits showing the images of the Black Photographers Annual, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is showing selected images from the second volume of The Black Photographers Annual. This exhibition pairs photographer P. H. Polk’s photographs with a selection of the early work of Chester Higgins, who went on to greater recognition as staff photographer for the New York Times. Higgins sees his “life as narrative and [his] photography as its expression”, and he will be at the museum to talk about his life and work on February 16th. You can see his images paired with Polk’s in the museum’s photography gallery, a hidden gem, through May 6th.
At the end of month, we come full circle. On February 22nd, Gordon Stettinius of Candela Gallery will talk about his own work as a photographer at the monthly Photographer Storytelling Night, held at Mobelux. Stettinius will share the bill with Zaid Hamid Photography from Washington, D.C. The space is worth a look, too - Mobelux is housed in a remarkably renovated former post office building on Broad Street.
So get out there!
Banner image: Susan Worsham, "Night Wing Moth" 2017. Archival pigment print. Image courtesy of the artist and Candela Gallery, Richmond.
Paige hosts the LookSEE podcast and is a freelance audio producer, an art lover, and a lifelong Richmonder. Her favorite place to be is in a museum. A close second is a bookstore.