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past exhibitions Inside/Out

July 9 - September 7, 2002

Summer is the season when everyone is constantly moving between the inside and outside: outside to enjoy the good weather, and back to the air-conditioned inside to escape the heat. The June Bateman Fine Art honored the season with Inside / Out, a group exhibition of gallery and guest artists who were asked to interpret this theme in terms of their own work.

For photographers, the lure of the outdoors is especially compelling in the summer and a number have chosen to emphasize the exploration of landscapes and cityscapes in their work. While outdoors in the city we inevitably look up, the complex relationship between tall urban architecture and the sky is the main subject of Ron Prager's Interstice Series. Charlie Bidwell's iconic images of 1950's signs provide ironic commentary on the marriage of commerce and ideology found in the southwest. Jon Birdseye's photographs provide images of the architectural remnants of the summer seaside resort of Asbury Park, New Jersey; these buildings, which once attracted so many, are portrayed in an abandoned state, in the process of being returned to nature. This process of dissolution is also the theme of Scott Walden's photographs. For several summers Walden and his view camera traveled in fishing boats to remote Newfoundland villages that had been abandoned as a result of a government-sponsored resettlement project, photographing the houses, churches, and cemeteries as they too underwent their collapse into the landscape. Laura Nash's work, on the other hand, is concerned with the effects of the introduction of industrial architecture onto what had been the pristine American wilderness of nineteenth-century landscapes of painters like Frederick Church; her pictures of industrial structures revel in their own particular beauty yet call to mind the beauty they have replaced.
 

Charlie Bidwell

Laura Nash

Gail Thacker
 

The street provides its own outdoor theater, which is the focus of the work of several of the artists in the exhibition. Gail Thacker photographs the street and then through surface manipulations of the emulsion takes the exterior life and transforms it into something more subjective and interior. Johanna Latty explores the notion of interior and exterior directly by taking photographs that walk a fine line between the outside world that she physically observes while evoking the internal world in which both photographer and subject exist.

The ambiguity between interior and exterior is also the basis of Petra Ruzickova's work, which uses refraction and reflection to create an imaginative world out of objective reality. Each of John Matturri's images, and an image-text piece, focuses on a window in its role as a literal boundary between inside and outside space; through their transparency and reflections the windows create complex spaces that also suggest that these boundaries have a metaphorical significance. Don Muchow's photographs of entrances explore boundary areas with a great sensitivity to light, also suggesting that the structures have a wider significance. A metaphorical interpretation of the theme of the show is particularly central to Lewis Koch's totem series, which consists of photographs that are at once documentary and evocations of mysterious realms of the imaginations. Just as traditional totems are objects that serve as conduits between the ordinary world and a culture's spiritual world, Koch's photographs show an outer world that also leads into an inner spiritual space.
 

Petra Ruzickova

John Matturri

Ron Prager
 

Seth Taras and Phillip Buehler focus on interior spaces. Buehler's photographs of decorations placed against walls of peeling paint suggest a psychological dimension by their inherent character as documents of an abandoned insane asylum; the bleakness of these interior environments is highlighted by a particular irony, as the decorative element hung on the decomposing wall is a painting of a homespun rustic scene that must have contrasted greatly with the sad reality of the patient's lives. Taras uses panoramic dimensions to psychologically re-format the outside world. With its varied styles and themes Inside / Out provides a fascinating glimpse of how a group of talented artists respond to an open-ended but intriguing theme.

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June Bateman Fine Art
By Appointment
35 Hudson Street #5A
Yonkers, NY 10701
917-806-8200

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