On display through Friday, February 20th, at the Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery in Columbus, ImageOhio invites us to see the world differently. Forty-two photographic, digital and video works by twenty-five artists and one art collective, all from Ohio, document the times in which we live and illuminate what it means to be human. Now in its 15th year, ImageOhio features a range of approaches and styles in contemporary photography. The artists’ perspectives run the gamut from reflection on families and communities to commentaries on the natural and physical environment.
For the photographers in this exhibition, the lens becomes an investigative tool, revealing what the eye often bypasses; here the camera acts as an interpretive agent, highlighting the artists’ passions and varying ideologies. Ardine Nelson’s photo Sullivant Hall 4167 (2014) depicts a ceiling badly damaged by the removal of fixtures, which have been replaced by apparently new copper piping. A captivating study in color and geometry, Sullivant Hall 4167 challenges us to guess at the circumstances of the site it pictures. And Paula Willmot Kraus’ photos of taxidermy owls, flamingoes and foxes on display in a natural history museum create a haunting sense of alienation from nature.
Through the manipulation of materials, light, and technical processes, especially as afforded in the digital age, the photographs in this exhibition generate illusion, widening our field of perception. In Tessellation (2014), Nicole Crock has folded digitally altered found photographs into pyramids and knit them together into a piece that from a distance resembles a geometrically conceived quilt, but evokes a sense of story-telling close-up, not unlike a family photo album. And Kent Krugh’s photomontage Miami Whitewater Forest Bald Cypress (2012), a winter landscape of a leafless bald cypress, takes on the murky shades of a lithograph.
Among the six videos in the show, the use of computers as an essential tool to develop and organize content, is a consistent element. Perhaps the most sophisticated is Toby Kaufmann-Buhler’s video Unseasonal Events Change Hands (2011-2013), a deftly orchestrated blending of electronic sound with a matrix of frames in which brief mini-videos play, suggestive of the fall season and the beating of bird wings. As the frames populate with shifting sequences – hands brushing away leaves or imitating birds’ flight – one senses the ebb and flow of the seasons and the reverberations of human and animal rhythms.
Intricate timing and sequencing of images is also a key component of Griffin Pines’ video WC612 (2014), in which dual sets of side-by-side images of lips moving and eyes blinking, generate an interesting intersection of two facets of human interaction, speaking and seeing. The blinking images play in silence, with only a click each time an eye blinks, suggesting these functions have become so automatic that we take them for granted.
ImageOhio is on view at Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery (at the Fort Hayes Art and Academic High School), 546 Jack Gibbs Blvd., Columbus, Ohio, through February 20, 2015. Gallery hours are 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.