Merging Harmonies

Exhibit at Calumet Photographic Santa Ana

If you decide to pursue Fine Art Photography as a vocation or as serious avocation, you will be committing to a permanent change in how you view life and how others eventually come to view your personal expression. You will leave the world of good pictures for a world of great, expressive specific themes. You will begin to look inward and outward to find the essence and essentials of your own beliefs, and recognize that self-discovery is rigorous work— a high-risk activity— that reveals as much about you, the photographer, as it does about your themes.

Three outstanding artists have made that leap and completed the Fine Art program with the Calumet University workshops at Calumet Photographic in Santa Ana, CA.  As always, I take a moment to reflect on their individual accomplishments and to marvel at the themes from the new group.  I find these reflections particularly gratifying and want to share some vignettes from these recent alumni and invite you to attend their group exhibit, Merging Harmonies.  I believe their accomplishments will provide encouragement and inspiration to other artists who are stretching their creative thoughts.

Pamela Lagoni

Air Intake © Pamela Lagoni
Air Intake © Pamela Lagoni

Pamela Lagoni began this class as a strong pictorialist, creating images with an emphasis on nature, travel as well as an affinity for fine, shiny cars. Her work was an eclectic series of images brimming with documentation, mood, and diverse images. But for this class, she undertook a theme that stretched her capture and post production technique to arrive at a new body of work, Radius’ in Motion. In these images, she knits together the mechanical details from motorcycles, two wheel vehicles that she began to explore with her father as a child.  These are robust images of gears, spokes, and clutches, each of them rendered with an ‘in-close’ perspective, so close that the components are abstract suggestions.   Her prints draw viewers into a world of hard edges of power works and then come full circle to show us the soft glamour of chrome and candy apple paints. As her artist statement indicates, she is passionate about details, how details complete her circle of life. Two galleries have already booked much of this work for exhibits later in the summer.

Gizella Nyquist

Kitty and Puppy - Cicus és kutyus © Gizella Nyquist

Kitty and Puppy – Cicus és kutyus © Gizella Nyquist

Gizella Nyquist pursues the beauty in life with her camera, be it nature, illustration, or portraiture. As the class began she launched a thematic to explore trees in singular pictorial illustrations but then narrowed the theme to tree bark, and finally to one bark, the California Sycamore. Her captures are in close but not macro, and thus she is able to present and accent the subtle, diverse colors and the incredible range of textures. In post-production, she employed a disciplined fine art process, which led her to consider repurposing the images as the abstract relationships of the bark began to yield not so abstract images within. Hidden in nature’s small world of texture were larger real-world images of cats, rabbits, owls, and more. Stand back, and the viewer sees Pollack like abstractions, and then allow yourself to stare for a moment, one sees faces Hidden Within, the title of this body of work that is surely destined for a solo show.

David Nelson

Big Bovine of the Desert © David Nelson

Big Bovine of the Desert © David Nelson

David Nelson’s theme and new body of work, Giants, seems at first the antithesis of Lagoni and Nyquist, but only in scale. His exploration of giant signs and giant commercial sculptures that represent business enterprises are in harmony with the abstract and small detail worlds of the other two artists. Upon an initial view of Nelson’s work one quickly identifies the stark and oversized egos that were the driving force of business and art during Southern California’s boom years, circa 70’-80’s. But his images transcend the ‘in your face’ commercial art of signs and ‘biggie’ sculptures. Giants, REALLY LARGE objects, are everywhere and he began to notice them while traveling to photograph sporting events, primarily long distance runners, an assignment that often robbed him and his wife (a noted runner) of sleep. In a hazy, sleep deprived state he began to experience and discover an alternate universe and sensed that these giants of plastic, steel, and neon may live in a parallel universe, one that occurs with sleep deprivation.
Nelson’s Giants are unequivocal in their largeness, dominate, forceful, totally in frame images, but they are also art on art, for he has taken the original works of art and presents us a new view that perhaps is alive in some other universe, or in some other mind.
Giants is off to the Palm Springs Photo Festival later in the month.

So up on the gallery wall they go, individual themes, personal expressions that magically merged into a harmony of tones, textures, and concepts.

Join us April 26, 5:30pm, for the Artist Reception at Calumet Photographic Gallery, 1430 S. Village Way Santa Ana, CA 92705.

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