Subscribe to Blog via Email
Each year in July, the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA hosts its celebrated annual Juried Exhibition, curated by a notable outside guest. From the sizable group of photographers whose work is not chosen for the show, the Griffin staff selects four individuals to give solo shows during the following year. Manuel Cosentino and Paul Adams were two of those awarded solo exhibitions from the Griffin Museum in 2013. Cosentino’s series, “Behind A Little House”, is featured in the Atelier Gallery and Paul Adams’ series, “Eden Had No Need of Fairy Tales”, is featured in the Griffin Gallery through June 29, 2014. These shows are gems, hidden in plain sight.
Manuel Cosentino’s “Behind A Little House” is a collection of eight color photographs taken over a period of two years. In identical compositions, the titular “little house” sits in a barren field in a variety of weather conditions, night and day. The perspective of the images is purposely distorted to diminish the house and enlarge the sky, giving them a sweeping, spacious feeling and remarkably refined composition. Each of the eight photographs features an extreme atmospheric condition; viewed as a group, the overall effect accentuates “the notion of our place in the world beneath one sky.” Nontheless, each photograph is striking on its own.
Cosentino believes “place, both actual and imagined, plays a key role within identity.” And there’s a surprise ending. Says Cosentino, “I wanted the viewer to start as an outside observer, a spectator, and then suddenly realize that they can participate – the wall mounted photographs lead up to the artist book where everyone is invited to contribute by drawing on the last photograph shared on each page, giving impromptu co-authors the freedom to shape the direction and the content of the artwork. The project intends to start a conversation with the public -its nature is purposefully left mutable, open to chance and to change.”
Paul Adams’ series, “Eden Had No Need of Fairy Tales” is fashioned from fairy tales led adrift to form alternative narratives. Says Adams, “For this project I returned to imaginative storytelling. Re-envisioned in contemporary settings, my protagonists (from fairy tales) grapple with the loss of innocence, search for identity, attempt to shape their destinies, and encounter the unexpected. My heroes and heroines must work their way through perplexing conditions, disappointment, and compromise to uncover sublime moments of liberation, autonomy, and redemption.”
Adams’ imaginative photogravures have a beautiful stillness about them; it appears the characters have been suspended in time. The soft brown hues, expansive panorama and abundant open space in each frame heighten the magical effect. Suggestive titles enjoin us to ponder each circumstance and contribute our own narratives. This happy adventure is elevated by Adams’ rich and evocative photographs.
Although their work is unrelated, Cosentino and Adams have both combined beguiling imagery with fantasy to engage our imaginations. The photographs and underlying messages alike are delightfully uplifting. For more information about these exhibits, go to: http://griffinmuseum.org/exhibitions.htm
Next month, during the 20th Juried Exhibition, the Griffin Museum will present the remaining two solo shows from the 2013 submissions: Rafael Soldi and Marjorie Salvaterra.
Feature image: From the series “Behind A Little House” by Manuel Cosentino (courtesy of the artist and KlompChing Gallery, NY)