The thing about making your space available to everyone is that sooner or later everyone will come. SPAG was approached by some amateur photographers who had originally met on-line at flickr.com to ask about renting some of the space at SPAG. As it happened many of the other people who decided to show at the same time also worked in this medium.
the point about photography is that if you are going to shoot straight ahead photography-or I guess even if you are not-you need to develop an eye. Photography is usually considered to be about light-but for the vast majority of people it has become mainly about forms or portraits. Some people simply record what they see, hopefully in interesting ways, and others play with combinations of forms. There is actually a huge amount of experimentation going on with photography which has moved it light-years-so to speak- from straight representation. For the most part you wouldn’t know that from the work in the flickr part of the show.
This is not to say the photography was bad or not technically proficient-it was. There were many good pieces-Sean Mathis had an excellent photo called Erosion-Highway 550. He photographed this looking like an abstraction to good effect. He also plays a bit with mixing color and black and white. In his piece The Right Side of the Tracks, the foreground is a black and white photo of a boxcar. Through the open door he has put a color landscape. He also has a variety of other good black and white photographs playing with forms and details.
Romero Duran has photographed a slightly surreal scene looking through a cave opening down on an empty picnic table and chairs apparently set on a mountain cliff. He works with digital photography as well as black and white, and I learned the other day that he has made some amazing photographs of religious festivals particular to little towns in Zacatecas as well as some scenes in Turkey. He has recorded songs and interviews and I would love it if we could have some kind of show of all of this.
Others in the show photographed lightning storms, or the fire in an iron worker scene to good effect. Tom Gage had a scene in a bowling alley with a fisheye lens photographed all in blue. Mark Paulda recorded speed as long line of light. Angelina Stewart created a somewhat ghostly image of a woman walking up stairs entitled In Search of Higher Ground, she recorded movement and otherworldliness simultaneously. Actually I’m not sure who was in the Flickr show and who wasn’t because they rented a part of the back room, but I don’t know if all of that or only a part was theirs since it wasn’t specifically marked.
In the rest of the show at SPAG the interesting mixed with forgettable clutter.
Marsha Isabel Flores had two nice somewhat haunting black and white photographs entitled self-portrait 1 and 2 which were eyes in flowers-irises in irises?. Janelle Borsberry played with words and images in her photo manipulations. Santiago Gonzales created an incredible huge hanging papier mache representation of La Llorona and perhaps fittingly in the same room is Miguel Lopez’s photographic manipulations playing with themes such as the Witch and Demon.
Jose Limon in the very back room had some very polished mixed images using photography among other medium to create what seems would be excellent commercial images. Across the wall Tess Lynch has created some truly horrifying scenes with colored pencils inspired, I’m assuming, from Japanese anime or from graphic novels inspired by anime. This is not something I know enough about to comment on. Those who like this will no doubt love it-those who don’t will probably leave very quickly looking for calmer waters.
One of the nice things about this show was that it brought out people who do not usually go to SPAG. This town needs for everyone working in different art mediums to look at each others work and to look at what’s out there in the world at large. We seem to be too often trapped in a little provincial bubble-so many people are doing incredible things. So many people here are doing some great things but there is very little interchange between artists or between groups of artists. Hopefully places like SPAG and the new Ramblin’ Gallery will help change that, but it depends on individual artists getting out of their own comfort zone and going to look-going to see what is out there.-David Sokolec