Gutstein Gallery came to life Wednesday night with the opening reception for “Manipulated,” the latest show presented as part of SCAD’s deFINE ART showcase.
“Manipulated” featured over 40 pieces from 10 talented artists, like renowned photorealist Chuck Close and SCAD Atlanta professor of photography V. Elizabeth Turk. The showcase displayed a range of photographic techniques from daguerrotypes to digital c-prints. There were even three giant tapestries of human faces, one greeting the visitors as they entered the gallery. The reception had a huge turnout, with appreciators of art crammed into the Gutstein and plenty of hors d’oeuvre and fizzy drinks to go around.
For photographers, this showcase was not just visually interesting. It showed the full spectrum of photographic edits that an artist can do and what kind of mood those edits can portray. It also showed the personal and creative touches that can be applied to processing a photograph, including the incorporation of mixed media.
These photography techniques and end products can be an important reminder for photographers, who too often stick to film or digital prints. After all, there’s a plethora of opportunities for unique works, from watercolor and gouache to silver gelatin and everything in-between. The exhibit proves that even giant tapestry portraits are an option for photographers.
Even people who aren’t familiar with photography could appreciate the painstaking effort that went into creating these beautiful pieces. Richard Mosse brought a collection of four digital c-print photos with rosy backgrounds and dark neutral subjects. His most compelling photograph by far was displayed in the center of the gallery: “Colonel Soleil’s Boys,” where a long line of soldiers stretched across the print, framed by a field of pink grass.
Another standout piece at the showcase was Christopher Bucklow’s “Tetrarch 5:04 PM, 31st July.” A dye destruction print, the photograph featured a woman’s figure with a radiating glow coming from her upper body.
The variety of pieces also offered a diverse look at composition. Abelardo Morell contributed two coupler prints, which are two photos superimposed together to create ethereal-looking portraits.
The show wasn’t limited just to prints, however. Radcliffe Bailey’s piece, “Travel By Night,” resembled a large gas lamp and sat in the corner. Another of his pieces was composed of three smaller pieces: a photograph on steel, a banner, and a mixed media ship. Bailey certainly pushed the limits with his design, but other artists seemed to struggle at taking risks. While all the pieces were well-done, not all were captivating. Some definitely took the spotlight, while others blended into the background.
Nevertheless, the art admirers in the gallery seemed to love the pieces, milling about the works and talking with friends. Some guests pulled out their cell phones and took photos of the pieces they liked the best.
Overall, some of the pieces played it too safe to be fully interesting, but the riskier pieces balanced out the show and made it one not to be missed. “Manipulated” will remain at the Gutstein until March 31. For more information about the exhibit or the gallery itself, contact (800) 869-7223.