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What an uplifting way to start the New Year! A mingling of photorealistic, abstract and conceptual visions of our universe appear in “Under Astral Skies”, now at 555 Gallery in South Boston through February 14, 2015. The heavenly skies envisioned by photographers Jim Nickelson, Amy Friend, Christopher Wright and Corinne Schulze proffer imaginative interpretations in a deliciously mind-expanding atmosphere.
Jim Nickelson’s quest to capture each full moon of the year from somewhere in Maine renders an enchanting series, with orbs poised above a hazy horizon, dancing in cotton candy clouds, glowering over raging seas and everything in between. These moons are so nuanced that they seem possessed of emotion. But in Nickelson’s Pyrotechnic series, a body of work that commands most of the gallery, B&W abstractions of actual fireworks confer the impression of spectacular night skies or pure mathematical theorems soaring to life (feature image). Whether real or imagined, all of Nickelson’s mesmerizing images embody the rhythms, cycles and wonder of the natural world.
Constellations are scattered throughout the vintage photographs in Amy Friend’s series Dare Alla Luce (Italian for “to bring to the light”, in reference to birth). Friend creates pinpoint, starry lights to bring new life to the subjects in her antique pictures, accentuating the fragility of our existence. The prints she alters are simultaneously lost and reborn, granting her images an otherworldly life. Friend’s inspired compositions, filled with buoyancy and soul, allow us to glimpse only a mysterious fragment of the story, not unlike the universe we inhabit.
For Corinne Schulze, dust is the vector to astral skies. In her series Stardust, she utilizes the dust left behind by ancient anthropological specimens photographed in her studio as a visual analogy for the universe. The patterns evoke celestial formations, bringing to mind the religiously intoned phrase, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”, reminding us that everything returns to the elements from which it was created over the millennia. By presenting a micro view that suggests a macro vision, Schulze’s effervescent imagery becomes a conceptual mind bender.
Christopher Wright sets his gaze on the Milky Way in his series Night in Color. Perched around the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Wright capitalizes on the offshore, crystalline sky and the glassy reflections of his Atlantic surroundings to bring us breath-taking views of our personal slice of outer space. Wright’s glorious images possess a wide and humbling perspective, an invitation to meditate on our position in the universe.
The variety of cosmic visions from Nickelson, Friend, Schulze and Wright are as tantalizing as they are enchanting to behold. Whether you favor the spectacle of an abstracted night sky, an expressive moonrise, awe-inspiring Milky Way, or the existential symbolism of starlight, “Under Astral Skies” packs an emotional punch. Truly compelling in person, 555 Gallery offers one of the first places on earth you’ll want to visit in the New Year.
To learn more about this exhibit, go to: http://www.555gallery.com/
To view more work by Jim Nickelson, go to: http://www.jimnickelson.com/
To view more work by Amy Friend, go to: http://amyfriend.ca/section/282356_Dare_alla_Luce.html
To view more work by Corinne Schulze, go to: http://www.cschulze.com/Stardust.php
To view more work by Christopher Wright, go to: http://www.cwrightartistry.com/NightInColor/gallery.shtml