Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Architects as photographers in Guilford

Guilford Art Center
411 Church St., Guilford, (203) 453-5947
Built: Architects Taking Pictures
Through July 24, 2009

Built: Architects Taking Pictures, showing at the Guilford Art Center's Mill Gallery through July, features the photographs of almost 50 architects who work locally. The show was curated by Roberto Espejo, who teaches photography at the Yale School of Architecture.

The discipline of architecture is a design discipline, a way of seeing that's transferable to the medium of photography. Photography, like architecture, exists at the intersection of technology and aesthetics.

The photography of architecture plays a strong role in this show but not exclusively so. More than shooting buildings or structures, most of the photographers are shooting space, either consciously designed space or aesthetically composed space.

With some 50 photographers and over 100 images on the walls, the show is a little overwhelming. But there were a few photographers whose work particularly caught my eye. Foremost was the selection of photos by Enzo Figueres. Although Figueres has a couple of black and white images in the show, he is primarily showing richly saturated color prints. A number of them are seascapes (no titles are given for any of the works in the show unless the photographer wrote the title on the mat). Number 11 on the exhibition checklist is a luminously rocky shore scene captured at either sunrise or sunset (I'm guessing morning). Probably shot with a long exposure, the boulders in the foreground are nestled amid a soft, steaming soup of water, the gentle mist of which contrasts nicely with the fiery sky.

Dave Coon appears attracted to the sights that others might see as blight, the overgrown and rundown backstreets of urban industrial districts. A desolate looking factory with its parking lot bisected by orange fencing. A small red industrial building or machine shop with iron bars over the windows. A corrugated tin garage is streaked with rust, hung with fading yellow signs advertising tires for sale. In Coon's images there is a reminder of the utilitarian and humble roots of architecture.

Ke-Wei Chang's streetscapes look as though they were shot with a pinhole camera, with their short depth of field and blurred imagery. Some feature juxtapositions of solitary birds in flight with the implacable solidity of built structures.

While the works of those three photographers made the strongest immediate impression on me, there are many beautiful images throughout the show. However, I would have liked more information in the exhibition checklist—titles, photographic processes, etc.

All the works are for sale for $250, unframed for $200.

A closing reception on Fri., July 24, 5-7 p.m. will feature a Cuban lechon asado (pig roast) and salsa music. Cost is $25/per person at the door, with proceeds benefiting Guilford Art Center.

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