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If you find yourself in New York City, I suggest that you also find yourself at Nailya Alexander Gallery for a photographic gem of a show. Ann Rhoney’s Life in Color is both powerful and delicate, like a deep, dark chocolate that swoons your senses. Featuring just eighteen superbly crafted pieces of hand-painted B&W photographs that left me wanting for more, the exhibit is on view through July 20th, 2018.
Rhoney is obsessed with luminosity. With a photographer’s eye for the split-second and a painter’s gift for suggesting the eternal, Rhoney transmutes her gelatin silver photographs into scenes we don’t so much see in real life as conjure from our memories. With the lightest touch of transparent oil paints applied to B&W prints captured from the 1970’s to the present, Rhoney’s delightful inventiveness evokes what your mind’s eye dreams in those rare moments when the world glows around you. I’ve never seen anyone do what she’s done with orange.
Rhoney seems especially drawn to water, that moody, symbolic giver of life that reflects light in myriad enchanting ways that has attracted artists forever. She instills timelessness even as she freezes motion, halting turbulence and suspending stillness, in water plunged into darkness or glaring with light. But she also captures the shifting, evanescence of memory in the tranquility of stationary monoliths, like the gorgeously light-suffused “Chelsea, Warm Evening.” Rhoney’s colors seem to expand the dimensionality of her images, elevating our emotional awareness of the extraordinary in the ordinary.
While Rhoney mostly explores the dichotomies of cities and open water, contrasting the color temperatures found in urban buildings, streets and parks with reflective aqueous spaciousness, she also studies ways the human form absorbs and reflects light. Directionality plays a huge role, camouflaging a seated woman at a window in slanted afternoon rays, muting dancers with soft, indirect light, or electrifying a stride with dazzling highlights, as in her stunning “Silk Dress Coming.” Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of Ann Rhoney’s photographs of such wide-ranging subject matter is the consistent, subtle sensuality and mystery she brings to them. Like all memorable art, the joy of Life in Color is that you’ll never see things in quite the same way again.
For more information about his exhibit, go to: http://www.nailyaalexandergallery.com/exhibitions/ann-rhoney-life-in-color/selected-works?view=slider
Feature Image: “In the Water, 1993, painted 2018” (Detail) by Ann Rhoney (courtesy of the artist and Nailya Alexander Gallery, NYC).