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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SIX6 @ Silverlens Gallery


SIX6, curated by Isa Lorenzo
with Frankie Callaghan, Wawi Navarroza, Neal Oshima, Rachel Rillo, Steve Tirona and Denise Weldon
November 24, 2010, Wednesday

Silverlens Gallery is turning SIX!

We are celebrating our anniversary with a Photography show by SIX artists - Frankie Callaghan, Wawi Navarroza, Neal Oshima, Rachel Rillo, Steve Tirona and Denise Weldon. SIX6 is curated by Silverlens' Director, Isa Lorenzo.

Susan Sontag's treatise 'On Photography' was the seminal text on photography theory. Published in 1973, it considered the relation of photography to art, to conscience and to knowledge. But it considered a time before digital images, computers, and Photoshop. The medium then was film. The last twenty years have seen further democratization of photography through post-production and digital tools. Today, photography is considered in relation to imagination and fantasy.

The photographers selected for this exhibition at Silverlens Gallery, it's forty-first in its six years, are artists who have had landmark solo exhibitions in our short history. They are artists who continue to work within the multi-tasking framework of one who takes and makes photographs. They all straddle the line between film and Photoshop, using the media freely as necessary to create images that are less truthful to the eye, but more in connection with created scenery.

The instruction, the theme of this show if you will, was taken from the first page of the first chapter of Sontag's text: "to collect photography is to collect the world". The images that came back paralleled the photographer as traveler. The traveler who puts a camera between his eye and his landscape, but documenting not the place, but the space and the feel framed by his viewfinder. "The photographer as someone in perpetual movement, someone moving through a panorama of disparate events", Sontag calls it. There are urban landscapes, imagined interiors and silhouetted exteriors, rural metaphors, and signifiers of human intervention.

Frankie Callaghan lights his nightscapes with a mixture of available and strobe lights. He sets up the found, like a hunter setting up light traps for his camera, his is a meticulous and repetitive process. For Six, we see a strip of four photographs. Beginning with a water village, an informal settlement of squatters; transitioning to other homes: a series of stacked concrete bunkers with lights beaming from open windows, a dwelling under a city bridge; ending with a green earth landscape. Read from left to right, it is a series on human habitation and altered landscapes of a developing country. Read from right to left, it is a series of how light has changed our consumption of the night.

Steve Tirona, the rock star, is unpredictable. Warming up the show, he brings to Six an urban kaleidoscope in fading colors of a chromogenic print. Titled with references to surf culture and drug use, his work brings a freedom to the show that reminds us that photography is a lot about "democratizing all experiences by turning them into images" (Sontag).

Rachel Rillo is concerned with form and material. Her photographs talk to drawings in the way that concrete sings to architects. She uses her photographs alternately as wallpaper, windows, or buildings, and pairs them with a black erasure where the skies or the interiors should be. She called these `Metaspaces'. They are unreal; but like a good hit, psychedelic and celebratory.

Denise Weldon is interested in quiet. Her personal work has always been about finding the spaces in between life's daily grind, and harvesting the good out of them. This she manages to do in Six. Standing in a place where there is much foot traffic, whether a train station, an airport, or a bus stand, we don't know. But we do know that people are moving quickly over a hard surface at a fast pace; and they appear bouncing or dancing, purposefully. And she is quietly shooting them.

Neal Oshima has been taking photographs for a long time. He is best known for his books, and his alternative process cyanotypes and kallitypes of Philippine textiles and traditional clothing. He likes to play with processes and materials. Constantly pushing the boundaries of photography, he was an early adapter to the digital image. In Six, he photographs water, specifically a river, and makes pseudo-rorschachs with the images in Photoshop. These are not blots, they are solid in his frame: suggesting anatomy, leaning to form, pointing to motion. He calls the series "riverrun", after the first word of Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Like the Irish author's work, Oshima's is an experiment in fiction.

Wawi Navarroza is a chameleon. She is whoever you want her to be. The universal appeal of this artist lies in her visual ability to crack the obvious. She `returns to landscapes' in this show, creating monuments of remembrance and markers of the deliberate—a white sheet over a home's furnishings to remember a typhoon's destruction, a bed of fuschia bougainvilla at the height of summer. X marks her spot, suggesting a return to home.

Not to be taken as a landscape show, but a show of the specific concerns of each artist, the emphasis is on space. For after all, it is the space within the created frame that is burned it, filled, or erased.

-Curator's Notes by Isa Lorenzo

SIX6, the Silverlens Gallery Anniversary Show with Frankie Callaghan, Wawi Navarroza, Neal Oshima, Rachel Rillo, Steve Tirona and Denise Weldon, Curated by Isa Lorenzo opens with Year of Glad by Hanna Pettyjohn; and The Easter Bunny, just as charming and just as fake by Nikki Luna.

Image: Neal Oshima, riverrun 3, 2010

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