Sunday, February 19th, 2012
By Christopher Yates
In its 12th year, Image Ohio continues to fulfill a mission highlighting the achievements of Ohio photographers and time-based media artists.
The juried exhibition includes work selected by a different juror every year — this year, Chris Stults, assistant film/video curator at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Such a selection process can be arduous and is dependent, of course, on the number and quality of works submitted. Rather than adhering to an overarching theme, Stults aimed to select a representative sampling.
Nevertheless, a conceptual thread emerged.
While making use of different techniques, processes and subjects, many of the works address issues of absence and loss. Throughout the exhibit, viewers encounter partial stories and scenes of ruin or disintegration.
Photographer Ardine Nelson documents spaces in decline. She examines subtle and dramatic geometries in her evocative abstract compositions. In Franklinton-2063, woodwork graphically frames the smashed plaster walls of an older home. Although debris litters the floor, the room’s bright blue walls suggest happier times. An observation rather than a call to arms, the piece directs attention to the housing crisis.
Jacqueline McGilvray’s Room Without a Man features a darkened room with a small curtained window. Soft morning light filters through the window. The implied open narrative concerns action and inaction, presence and absence, and the inner and outer.
Francis Schanberger’s experiments with anthotype photographs are compelling. Using natural plant pigments that fade when exposed to light, he positions bedtime garments on sensitized paper and exposes them to direct sunlight. The resulting photograms are haunting.
Crystal Tursich raises issues of homelessness and survival in Mobile Pantry. The image depicts a shopping cart filled with belongings and parked in a wooded camp.
In Chanika Svetvilas’ video Joshua T. Edwards, dreamlike experiences flash by as if they were out-of-body experiences. In one scene, a man, lying on the ground, is being arrested while officers callously step on his legs.
Leah Fisher documents small communities in decline. In Old Bakery, Glouster, Ohio, she captures a weathered two-story structure, its function visibly fading from memory.
Other successful works include Amy Leibrand’s surreal The Heart Is the Smallest Place of All, Rachel Girard-Reisert’s triptych Tropism #1, and Jenny Fine’s comical When We Were Synchronized Swimmers.
Though thin in terms of the quantity of work, the challenging exhibit offers strong pieces that represent diverse techniques.