The Atelier 811 Gallery is hosting an exhibit that reflects the distinct personalities, unique perspectives and artistic skills of five local photographers. The show opens with an artist reception on Friday, Feb. 2 and runs through March 30.
“This exhibit showcases the diversity of work among this group of photographers,” said Milt Ellenbogen, the gallery’s director and show organizer, who noted that most of the group did their own darkroom work as well. “The mastery of the technical aspects of this exhibit are very impressive.” The show features more than 40 photographs and includes limited edition traditional gelatin silver and Cibachrome prints as well as archival pigment prints.
The artists, Charles Seton, Arnold Kastenbaum, Rita Baunok, Ruth Raskin and Patrick J. Cicalo, are members of The Ground Glass, an association of fine art photographers based in Westchester County. Each photographer selected their own images for the show, and each collection reflects the unwavering viewpoint of the artist.
For Raskin, a series of gelatin silver prints, titled “Road Trip: New Mexico,” chronicles her travels across the state several years ago. Raskin describes her photographs as “quiet.” They feature the stunning landscapes, structures and roads she encountered on her 1,500-mile journey, including a stop at the UFO Museum in Roswell. “When I take a photo, I really focus on the composition to make sure it’s right,” said the Scarsdale resident. “I want you to see it exactly as I want you to see it.”
Kastenbaum, on the other hand, leaves the interpretation up to the viewer. His work does not present objects in a literal way, or as they naturally appear. His images – or in some cases no images at all, just shadows and light – often require a second, or even third, look before they become recognizable. He explains: “My photographs are subtle, and not in your face. I want to show the viewer a different representation of things they see every day but perhaps have overlooked.” The Mamaroneck photographer’s collection of gelatin silver prints consists of architecture, staircases, light bulbs and other ordinary objects.
Baunok’s study “On the Gypsy Row” depicts the plight of the gypsies in her native Hungary. The gelatin silver prints document the Romungros, or “the Roma” – the gypsies who live in segregated areas in the country’s villages and town. “Outside of Hungary, not many people know about the Roma,” said Baunok, who now resides in South Salem but grew up near Gypsy Row and still has a strong connection to the community. “They have very difficult lives, suffering from extreme poverty and lack of education.” In 2012, despite dangerous conditions, Baunok went back to Hungary to photograph the Roma, as well as the towns and the conditions its residents live in. “I wanted to shed light on these forgotten people,” said Baunok.
Elements of design – shape, line, pattern, texture and space – are apparent in the work of Cicalo, whose black and white photos capture a sense of stillness and solitude. The unique framing and perspective of architectural landmarks, such as the Chrysler Building, offer fresh interpretations of familiar places. Cicalo, who is a resident of North Salem, also serves as the president of The Ground Glass. He says of his work: “I want the viewer to make his or her own judgment.”
While much of the work in the exhibit is black and white, Seton presents a series of large-scale vibrant prints that were made when he worked as a photojournalist and artist in Asia some 30 years ago. Among his subjects, the vintage images include rickshaws in Hong Kong and an outdoor noodle factory in China. Seton shot the photos on Kodachrome slide film and printed them himself on Cibachrome, a process which prints directly from color transparency film and produces brilliant colors. “Cibachrome is also known for its archival property because it can last for generations without any loss of color,” said Seton, a resident of Mamaroneck. He notes: “The color in these images is as gorgeous as when they were originally printed. It’s worth noting that the use of Cibachrome is becoming a lost form of art in favor of digital. The paper is no longer manufactured, making it difficult to find, and the printing technique is difficult to master.”
An opening reception will take place on February 2 from 6:30-8:30pm. Atelier 811 Gallery is located at 811 North Broadway in White Plains. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11am to 4:30pm, Fridays from noon to 6pm, Saturdays from 11am to 4pm, and by appointment.
Katherine Doherty is a writer, graphic designer and travel enthusiast from White Plains, NY. A former magazine editor, she currently manages corporate communications for a global logistics company. She holds a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology where she majored in fine arts.