2005-02-04 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
by Susan Hartenstein

“Rock And Tree,” by William Baker, one of the photographs on view at the new RAA exhibit, “Black And Light On Silver.”“Rock And Tree,” by William Baker, one of the photographs on view at the new RAA exhibit, “Black And Light On Silver.” by Dan Guarino

The “Black and Light on Silver” photography exhibition is set for an exciting opening reception on Sunday, February 13. Mark your brand new calendars - the show is on view from Saturday, February 12 to Sunday, April 3. In bringing together five distinct artists, William Baker, John Grillo, Joseph Rothenberg, Scott Weingarten and David Williams, “Black and Light on Silver” peels away our oversaturated Technicolor world and reaches into its bold heart of black and white. And it does it with style.

“Rear Window,” by William Baker, from the new RAA exhibit, “Black And Light On Silver.”“Rear Window,” by William Baker, from the new RAA exhibit, “Black And Light On Silver.” Through their work and their words, the artists speak for themselves.

“In my photography, I’m always looking for the distinctive angle that will make the print fascinating,” says Bill Baker, who works digitally. “I just want the unusual angle that will make the scene exceptional. (Studying) what the masters have done has helped me appreciate the magnificence of this art form. My hope is to add just a little.”

Or, as John Grillo, who works in conventional 35mm film and in panorama, puts it, “It’s a matter of surrounding with a frame a portion of one’s personal vision. This is done while standing at the right place at the right time. My photographs attempt to take all the fragments before me, no matter how imperfect, and make them fit perfectly.”

As a man who works with a large format camera he built himself, David Williams adds, “Obsession with technical proficiency and gadgets can never make a powerful print. Fussing with (equipment) and techniques and losing one’s sense of balance... is like a writer who believes a better word processor will create the profound novel.”

Joe Rothenberg’s images of wine glasses shimmering against a back drop of mountains and the sea or the organic blend of man and instrument in his close up of a marching band Sousaphone player, aptly illustrate his words when he says, “I have been exploring black and white photography for the past 35 years. I’ve spent the past 35 years photographing people and cultures throughout the world - cremations in Bali, wildlife in Kenya, medieval villages in France and Italy, glaciers in Alaska. My subject matter ranges from making a statement about the human condition to the fleeting capture of an inconsequential moment.”

In the elegant motion of a pedestrian’s shadow crossing a cobblestone street, Scott Weingarten’s image invites us to look again at the familiar and see what we have completely overlooked. He sums his aim up simply when he says “inspired by life and its many treasures, I reveal these aspects in my photographs.”

“Black and Light on Silver” itself promises to reveal not simply a view of existence without color, but a life that is vibrant with its own shapes and shadows and mysteries.

Intrigued? Come and see it for yourself.

Admission is free and gallery hours are Saturdays 12-4 pm and Sundays 1-4 pm. The Sunday, February 13 opening is from 1-3 pm. Many of the photographers will be there, a variety of entertainment is scheduled and refreshments will be served.

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