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Bridges are one of mankind’s earliest engineering feats, an awe-inspiring blend of form and function. With remarkable diversity, they combine usefulness, striking appearance and an enduring romantic metaphor for human connection. Photographer Robert Richfield brings a lifelong intrigue with these alluring structures to his signature multi-paneled panoramas in his solo exhibition “ABRIDGED”, on view at Gallery Kayafas in Boston’s SoWa arts district through October 15th, 2017.
Richfield’s enthusiasm is infectious and his viewpoints, riveting. From “straight” environmental panoramas to inventively constructed abstractions, Richfield keeps things exciting. His lengthy horizontal images infer a narrative to begin with, to which he introduces sensational camera angles, time-lapse segments and blurred motion, all to captivating effect. The formalism of structures and segmentation of images are juxtaposed with playful interactions and serendipitous human activity.
Richfield shoots in a variety of scales, treating us to a smorgasbord of bridge types from around the world, from countryside footbridges to road, rail and even horse bridges. Some close-ups feature geometric abstractions, with bright dashes of color or the buzz of pedestrian activity. Some scenes are serenely tranquil. Still others, like the Gouwe Rail Bridge in the Netherlands, are viewed from afar and grab our attention with incongruities like trains on a seeming collision course. These details are barely visible when viewed on a computer, let alone a handheld device, and I highly recommend you allow yourself to be transported by visiting the gallery.
Richfield’s images marvel at technology while fabricating fresh takes on it – what he chooses to include or omit in his dynamic panoramas, the way he skews both linear elements and time, and especially his obvious reverence for the vital utility of bridges. He lets us see with new eyes and in the process we realize that, although Richfield’s narratives celebrate technology, they are enchanting in their humanity.
Seeing the world in an altered way is also the province of Seth David Rubin, whose impressionistic photographs are being exhibited in the new Project Gallery space. Utilizing homemade lenses, Rubin creates colorful, flowing images of figures in the environment in his “Ourglass” series. Governed by dramatic color fields and curvi-linear optical aberrations, Rubin’s photographs emphasize the intangible, with his abstract technique “enabling my imagination and emotion to shape and control what I see.” In delightfully different ways, Rubin and Richfield corroborate that perception is everything.
There will be an Artists’ Reception on First Friday, October 6th, 2017 from 5:30pm – 8:00pm. For more information about these exhibits, go to: http://www.gallerykayafas.com/
Feature Image: “Python Borneo Pedestrian Bridge, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2015” (Detail) by Robert Richfield (courtesy of the artist and Gallery Kayafas, Boston).