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By Elin Spring, Editor and Suzanne Révy, Associate Editor
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates
We struck out on Newbury Street in Boston last weekend and took in three very different photography exhibits: American Structures, a small group exhibit at Robert Klein Gallery; Elevated, the first national photography competition in seven years hosted by the Copley Society of Art, juried by Robert Klein; and Dunites, a multi-media solo show by Lana Z. Caplan at Gallery NAGA. Here are our brief impressions of each exhibit, all of which are on view at least through September, 2018.
“American Structures” at Robert Klein Gallery features work by Magda Biernat, Jeff Brouws, Jim Dow, Karen Halverson, Henry Horenstein, Stefanie Klavens and John Woolf, each exploring quintessentially American landscapes. From Klavens’ nostalgic motels and theatres, John Woolf’s shuttered “Boston Opera House” and Jeff Brouws’ vibrant typology of “Freshly Painted Houses” (above) to Magda Biernat’s unlikely homesteads (below) or views from American highways seen with poignancy by Jim Dow (below) and irony by Karen Halverson (feature image), this excellent selection celebrates both the fantastical and mundane. American Structures will be on view through October 28th, 2018. For more information, go to: https://www.robertkleingallery.com/
Copley Society of Art (CoSo) is hosting “Elevated”, its first national photography group exhibit since 2011, featuring thirty photographs by both CoSo members and non-members. Juried by Robert Klein, this open-themed show is a bit uneven, ranging from First Prize-winner Michael Sterling’s elegantly dilapidated “Period Piece” (above), SecondPrize-winner Doug Adams’ vibrant, high-impact “Tribal Expression” and Juror’s Choice-winner Sally Bousquet’s ethereal, B&W “Deep End” (below) to some more obviously amateur efforts. It’s worth a look, though, especially considering that Suzanne Révy has two of the outstanding pieces in the show (below). Elevated will be on view through October 3rd, 2018. For more information, go to: http://www.copleysociety.org/exhibition/elevated
Gallery NAGA presents an immersive installation called “Dunites” by Lana Z. Caplan, a California based artist/activist whose exploration of the Guadaloupe-Nipomo Dunes in mid-coast California addresses the conflicts between environmental preservation and recreation on public lands. These dunes claim a storied past: iconized in photographs by Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, home to a colony of artists and poets during the Depression, the movie set for Cecil B. DeMille’s epic “Ten Commandments,” and the ancestral land of the Chumash Indians. Through video, virtual reality, sculpture and striking photographs, Caplan gives voice to a clash of wills between the new Dunites who careen across this endangered landscape on ATV’s and the downwind communities who suffer adverse health effects from the airborne sand they kick up. Caplan deftly creates an environment that emphasizes the cultural rifts that have been laid bare in Trump’s America, but she does so without demeaning or denigrating either side. On view through September 29th, 2018, for more information, go to: http://www.gallerynaga.com/exhibition/current/
Feature Image: Installation view of L to R: “Marfa, Texas (Untitled 9608), 2017”, “Marfa, Texas (Untitled 9779), 2017” and “Marfa, Texas (Untitled 9967), 2017” by Karen Halverson and “Off Route 66, East of Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2018” (B&W) by Henry Horenstein in American Structures at Robert Klein Gallery, Newbury Street, Boston (photo by Elin Spring).