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If you want to glimpse some of the most inventive imagery in photography, don’t turn to your smart phone. A fantastic resurgence of alternative process photography is afoot, with fine art photographers revisiting ancient methodologies that predate the reigning B&W and color film technology of the last century. Far from “everything old is new again”, today’s artists bring a distinctively 21st century sensibility to their work. An impressive group show curated by Brett Henrikson, “Mirror With A Memory: Alternative Process Photography in the 21st Century”, is on view through November 12, 2016 at Peter Miller Fine Art in Providence, Rhode Island. If you ever needed an excuse to go to Providence, this is it – but hurry.
The degree of skill and creativity in this show is remarkable, courtesy of curator Brett Henrickson, whose devotion to content and composition transcends the variety of techniques, not to mention the imaginative cross-pollination of methods. For Henrikson “method” functions in service of the ingenious and diverse ”madness” of some twenty artists whose work is displayed. For example, the Cyanotype is showcased in Lynné Bowman Cravens’ romantic portraiture, Lyndsey Beal’s vibrantly zaggy abstract, Carrie Witherell’s poignant typology, Adam Finkelston’s spectacular geometric explosion and the energetic urban collages cascading through Karen Molloy’s handmade accordion book. All Cyanotypes, devoted to robust and inspiring artistic visions.
It’s no different for the images derived from wet-plate collodian negatives. The technique is merely a springboard for the entrancing close-up of “Christopher” by Tony Sehgal, Michelle Rogers-Pritzl’s mysterious and moving self-portrait, the austerely elegant horseshoe crab by Silke Hase, the chaotic and dreamy sensuality in Brett Henrickson’s fractured figures, Sarah Lazure’s fantastical, layered self-portrait and the mash-up of text and texture in Scott Hilton’s masterful visual wordplays.
Just as captivating are the ethereal impressions achieved through widely disparate methods. Otherworldly portraits share a seductive ambiguity as they embrace the imagination in Diane Fenster’s soft, hallucinatory hues, Amy Friend’s bright sparks of memory and Devon John Chebra’s silhouetted dusky solitude.
Drawing ideas into inspired abstractions, Myles Dunigan’s smoky, refined photogravure seems to warn an apocalypse, while Sage Brousseau’s serene and iridescent “manipulated” Polaroid dyptich hints at ghosts and Marky Kauffmann’s playful, delicate Chemigram dances with delight. The abstract turns tangible in Brett Henrikson & Hannah Kirkpatrick’s exceptional dark glass cubes featuring “Hands of the Artists” and “Eyes of the Artists”, David Emitt Adam’s emblematic images of the Sonoran desert on rusty discarded cans found there, and a couple of handmade monographs, including the exquisite velvet antique “Spell Book” by Beverly Rayner (which you may handle with provided gloves). This one-of-a-kind show ends soon and Peter Miller’s gallery opens by appointment only. Seize the day!
For more information and to contact the gallery, go to: http://www.petermillerfineart.com/
Feature Image: “Breakfast, 2016” (detail) Gum Bichromate hand-colored print of 4×5 pinhole double exposure capture by Joli Livaudais (courtesy of the artist).