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Is there anything more quintessentially New England than the sea? It is a picture perfect subject for the inaugural photography exhibit at Panopticon Gallery in Boston’s Kenmore Square, newly owned by Paul Sneyd (Panopticon Imaging) and newly directed by Kat Kiernan (Don’t Take Pictures magazine). At Sea celebrates the gallery’s new voyage with an enticing variety of mostly handmade photographs by nine photographers, on view through October 31st, 2017.
With work as varied as the sea itself, the artists in this exhibit capture its moody changeability, from serene calm to portent turbulence. Amy Friend’s spaciously composed seascapes recall languid summer afternoons at the beach, our hazy dreams conjured in her frothy, hand-painted surf. Diana H. Bloomfield’s delicately layered tri-color gum bichromate prints achieve a nostalgic palette and texture in her tranquil, fluid meditations.
The ocean’s dusky calm is visited by a lithe flight of birds in Jefferson Hayman’s intimate “The Evening Seas”, completed by his handmade frame, dark as night. Joni Sternbach’s desolate remains of an offshore pier recalls the eternity of the surf in her mystical, stirring Ambrotype. Invoking both memory and the mesmerizing lure of an ocean storm, Lisa M. Robinson’s “Mesmory” is at once expansive, tempestuous and hypnotic.
Although Agnieszka Sosnowska and Stephen Sheffield both employ B&W film and self-portraiture in their allegorical work, their beautiful gelatin silver photographs offer naturally differing viewpoints. With water as metaphor for the risks and dangers in life, Sosnowska bravely pits herself against the elements in dynamically poised images utilizing the starkly beautiful Icelandic shore. Sheffield’s dapper everyman ponders his own worth, with water providing the unfathomable threat of overwhelming expectations and responsibilities in his compelling, graphic compositions.
Others interpret the power of the sea with a proverbial grain of salt. Dan Estabrook’s elegant compositions and childlike playfulness assume a sophisticated grace and aura in his stunning salt prints. Poet Andrew Seguin transforms his passion for Herman Melville’s epic “Moby Dick” into fanciful jaunts, with grammatical notations substituting for stars and spirited combinations of line drawings from the famed story printed in Cyanotypes, rich in both hue and symbolism. Panopticon Gallery earns its salt with this group show, a captivating and diverse collection of largely handmade photographs that express the many moods of the sea. Best appreciated in person, I highly suggest you go find yourself At Sea.
For more information, go to: https://www.panopticongallery.com/exhibition-at-sea/
Feature Image: “Broken Home, 2005” (Detail) unique Ambrotype by Joni Sternbach (courtesy of the artist and Panopticon Gallery, Boston).