ROYCE BAIR, owner of Stock Solution, had a brilliant idea last May when he converted a portion of his company's workspace into the Aperture Gallery. Besides giving the neighborhood a lot more class, the exhibits at gallery have been interesting and competent displays of the art of photography.
Through April 14, Aperture is exhibiting "Alternative Processes," a group exhibition featuring 49 works created through alternative photographic processes. The show has been a hit with educators and students of photography because most of the alternative processes they've read about or studied are all on display.Participating photographers in the exhibit are: Ben Altman, Cindy Biles, Val Brinkerhoff, Angela H. Brown, Paula Chamlee, Teresa Flowers, Ruth A. M. Gier, David Huff, Gloria S. Johnson, Kerry Winston Jones, Michael Kemp, Kerik Krouklis, Emily Krommenhoek, Ann Luker, Susan Makov, Kent Miles, Rodger Newbold, Kim Riley, Michael A. Smith, Cori Takemoto, Mark Weiler and Jairo A. Wilches.
With the exception of the Iris (Giclee) and liquid emulsion, all other processes in the exhibit - salt, vandyke, cyanotype, Bromoil, platinum/palladium, Polaroid transfer and emulsion transfer - require a negative or camera format that matches the final size of the print. Also, all of the processes but one (the Iris) require a great deal of hands-on involvement through-out the process, which adds to the uniqueness of each print. (The Iris requires manipulation of a digital image before application to paper via a four-color ink-jet process.)
Several pieces in the exhibit are noteworthy for their technical excellence as well as their subject matter. Gier's "Paris II" (Bromoil transfer) has all the graininess inherent in the process yet also manages to be a magnum opus of subtlety with light and shadow. The design is simple and elegant. Miles' admirably composed Iris print "Roots, Zurich, 1983" demonstrates the digital process' capability of holding detail in the shadows.
Also, Smith's "Bear Lake, Idaho, 1991" and Chamlee's "San Rafael Valley, Arizona, 1990), both silver chloride contact prints, illustrate the intricate, high-resolution detail possible with the process. "Torso" (Polaroid transfer), by Wilches, not only demonstrates the transfer process but also moves a step higher with its supple and delicate interpretation of the subject.
After studying the alternative process images in the exhibit, one might wonder if some of the results are merely happy accidents. That is always a possibility. However, the next reaction must be, "So what?" The finished image is what matters in a work of art.
Curator and participant Riley deserves credit for her taste in image selection and the exhibit's overall appearance.
The Aperture Gallery is in the ground floor of the Crane Building, one block south of the Delta Center, at 307 W. 200 South, Suite 1004. "Alternative Processes" can be seen from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.