Fine Arrrt (or how i learned to stop complaining and love all things design-y)

So… last Friday was a whole assload of art openings around rochester.
First, we hit Toni Pepe’s Angle of Repose MFA Thesis exhibition. Ridiculously technically beautiful photographs, but as for the subject matter: trendy, design-y and not as relevant as the technical strength of the images required. I’m tired of anything with cool wallpaper  and old timey furniture standing in for real meaning. It has being done in tens. See:
http://www.justfriends.ca/peek/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/18711424@N00/1989022058/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/adorianbrown/1812153205/in/pool-326086@N20/

The wall statement said the work was about memory (are photographs ever *not* about memory?), but I think the work was more about making cool photographs of dust, dress-up and mise en scène. The RIT way of working seems to be make things look cool, big and shiny. Don’t get me wrong. They are great photographs. Really, really fucking beautiful, envy-inducing photographs. I guess I just am more hell bent on matter over form. That said, there are lots of works that fail in the reverse. Lots of matter, no attention to form. I guess, given the choice, I would choose a meaningful work that is not as beautiful as it could be, because it can always be re-photographed/re-painted/re-sculpted.  A work with shallow depth has nowhere to go past gorgeous.

Second on the list was a talk with Michael Bosworth, who has a camera obscura type installation at Rochester Contemporary right now. He had some pretty interesting things to say about photography as a process. The talk ran a little long, and parts of it could have been cut shorter. Editing is almost always more important than anyone realizes. He had a 3D glasses bit, which made it fun to watch all these uber-serious artist types talking red/blue glasses on and off. I can’t see in stereo, so I spent most of the time flipping between my red eye and blue eye, wondering what things looked like to those with good eyes. He had the obligatory 3D waterfalls, so he must have the same how-to Photoshop manual as one of my classmates who composed similar work. I hadn’t seen Bleue (sp?) since I relocated to Rochester, and I always expect him to not remember me, but he did. I forgot he was in the Jack Rees class with me a few summers ago, so I guess it would be a pretty dickish thing to pretend he didn’t know me.

After RoCo, we hit Elena Dubas’s opening at Nazareth college. It was a great gallery space, and the work had a much stronger emphasis on matter over technique. The images looked pretty good, not drop-dead gorgeous, but overall, it looked cohesive and nothing stood out as problematic.  I got the connections she was drawing, even though I was initially afraid it was just going to be a shocker show (dealing with body modification can be a slippery slope). The idea  seemed much clearer than the pretty photographs at RIT, which, in my opinion, made it a more successful, complete work.

That was it for Friday. There were a few other shows I wanted to see last weekend, but Marlene Seidman’s opening was the only other event I made it to. I’m gallery sitting for her at VSW, and I think, for my last half hour here, I may go spend some time listening and looking at her exhibit. I don’t get everything, but I think the sound might help to make more sense of the symbology.

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