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Standing before a capacity crowd at her solo exhibit “Of Light and Line” at the Danforth Art Museum in Framingham, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Ellenwood reflects the buoyant tranquility of the photographs that surround her. Her ability to elevate everyday objects and environs into elegant studies of line, shape, texture and form are exemplified in the twenty B&W gelatin silver prints on display in the Rosenberg Gallery through May 17, 2015.
Ellenwood epitomizes a new breed of fine art photographer who embraces a deliberative, manual process in her work. She combines a natural affinity for architectural detail and sculptural form with her devotion to a Hasselblad medium format film camera and B&W wet darkroom techniques to create quietly powerful images. Though invisible, time is a key element in her work. Ellenwood attests that it enhances her ability to focus on the ordinary in ways that cultivate her awareness of the essential elements of composition. For the viewer, that translates into a heightened appreciation for the everyday places and things we’ve frequently come to ignore.
Ellenwood approaches mundane surroundings with dynamic perspectives and a rigorous adherence to historic conventions that mandate the use of a full frame and natural light conditions. Moving herself around to create unique views, Ellenwood introduces enlightening compositions that are further accentuated by her precise square format. Whether some lyrical telephone wires above our heads or shadows dancing across a garden hose, hers is a refreshing take on a proud photographic tradition.
An extra delight awaits those who make the effort to experience this exhibit firsthand. I admire Jessica Roscio, Danforth Art Associate Curator, for her wonderful attention to both the linear elements and the use positive and negative space in Ellenwood’s prints. Her sequencing of the installation carries the viewer from contrasty, minimalist images featuring harsh lines to photographs with shadowy romantic qualities, providing visual intrigue with an overarching narrative flow. Ellenwood’s images ring like pure notes and play off one another with the synchronicity of a musical score.
Danforth Art Museum will be hosting an artist talk on Sunday, April 19th at 3PM. For more information about the talk and exhibit, go to: http://www.danforthart.org/ElizabethEllenwood-OfLightandLine.html
To see more of Elizabeth Ellenwood’s photography, go to: http://elizabethellenwood.com/
Feature Image: “Curtain (detail), 2013” by Elizabeth Ellenwood (courtesy of the artist and Panopticon Gallery, Boston)