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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A new space, a last chance: exhibitions at The Light Factory and Gaines Brown Gallery

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2011 at 2:50 PM

In the next few days, catch some shows before they close, and see a new space.

LAST CHANCE: You have until May 15 to see two noteworthy photography shows at The Light FactoryBody & Soul in the Middleton McMillian Gallery and Bring the Family in the Knight Gallery.

Body & Soul, an understated meditation on the human body, features work by Joyce Tenneson, Jock Sturges and Mona Kuhn.

click to enlarge Joyce Tenneson, Suzanne (photo courtesy of The Light Factory)
  • Joyce Tenneson, Suzanne (photo courtesy of The Light Factory)

Sturges, who often photographs on nude beaches, is represented by Fanny, Montalivet, France, a series of gelatin silver prints taken between 1991 and 2009 that depict a girl’s transition to womanhood. Sturges is periodically harassed by religious conservatives who misrepresent his work, but the images here are not at all salacious. Rather than being exploited, Fanny appears very much in control of the image and her relationship with the photographer. Tenneson’s archival digital prints have an ethereal, pre-Raphaelite feel, and Kuhn’s chromogenic prints of figures and the rainforest document her yearnings for the Brazil of her childhood.

Although The Light Factory had to cover the glass door and post a content warning for Body & Soul, the show is actually soothing and introspective. In contrast, Bring the Family, with work by Tina Barney, Catalina Kulczar-Marin, Lydia Panas and Natalie Young, is far more knotty in its depictions of complex relationships.

click to enlarge Tina Barney, The Brocade Walls (photo courtesy of The Light Factory)
  • Tina Barney, The Brocade Walls (photo courtesy of The Light Factory)

Barney’s gorgeous, large chromogenic prints show affluent people at home. Barney photographs what she knows; this is her milieu. Her work delves into a world in which both things and decorum matter; people are stiffly arrayed among their possessions, and every object in a room seems fraught with significance. In The Mark of Abel, Panas’ series of prints, family groups in halcyon settings stare at you in a way that flips the relationship between viewer and image. Kulczar-Marin’s Let Love Reign, a series of digital C-prints, are tender portraits of same-sex couples that show the affectionate ordinariness of their relationships. Young’s gelatin silver prints of pets and her husband’s parents on their farm present yet another example of a created family as an alternative the family into which one is born.

Body & Soul and Bring the Family, through May 15 at The Light Factory, 345 N. College Street. www.lightfactory.org/photography.

NEW SPACE IN SOUTH END: Gaines Brown Gallery, a new (and I hope, continuing) venture, will open May 6 with TransFUSION, an exhibition by Charlotte Artery. South End pioneer Gaines Brown, an exhibit designer and artist who has long been committed to making the area an intimate and vibrant destination, has been converting part of his business into a gallery space and is testing the waters with this show.

I saw the gallery in transition — the exhibition had not yet been installed and modifications were still underway — but you could easily see the great potential of this large, bright space. Brown’s enthusiasm about the possibility of providing a much-needed venue for local artists is palpable.

TransFUSION includes new work by Artery members Julie Benda, Janet Lasher, Ashley Lathe, Bev Nagy, Sharon Dowell, Teresa Hollmeyer, Paul Keysar and Jon Tarleton and guest artists Cher Cosper, Allison Luce, Isaac Payne and Terry Shipley.

click to enlarge Julie Benda, See (photo courtesy of the artist)
  • Julie Benda, See (photo courtesy of the artist)

Charlotte Artery: TransFUSION, Gaines Brown Gallery, 1520 S Tryon St. Opening reception, May 6, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Closing reception, June 3, 6:00-9:00 p.m. charlotteartery.com.

Barbara Schreiber

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