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For the third year in a row, Panopticon Gallery in Boston’s Kenmore Square is revisiting the laudable and fun custom of exhibiting photographs by the students in Stephen Sheffield’s Black & White class at the New England School of Photography (NESOP). Alliy McNeil, Alyssa Minahan, Aoife Shanahan, Corinne DiPietro, Elizabeth Ireland, Greg Norstrom, Jenna Stebbins, Rebecca Middleton, Timothy Bartlett and Tricia Collier are the ten young artists featured in this year’s show, in the Private Room of the gallery through June 9, 2014.
Since the primary aim of Sheffield’s B&W class was to teach students how to make tonally rich gelatin silver prints from film negatives in a wet darkroom, there is no overarching theme to the exhibit. This allowed a range of subject matter and moods, from the fun, tongue-in-cheek environmental “portraits” by Jenna Stebbins to the somewhat disturbing landscapes by Tricia Collier.
Aoife Shanahan studies the effects of deep shadowing with powerful effect in her series of cityscapes. She also presents city building montages, which contrast nicely with the dynamic and striking urban landscapes by Timothy Bartlett. The elegant still-lifes by Alliy McNeil are at once recognizable and abstract.
Alyssa Minahan demonstrates impressive interpretive and technical sophistication in both her landscape and portrait studies. Elizabeth Ireland explores the idea of reality and illusion in her psychological studies of interior spaces. Greg Norstrom’s probing self-portraits are a layered exploration of identity employing positive and negative images, combined with manipulative techniques, to render unique and intriguing prints.
Sheffield’s B&W NESOP class certainly learned great printing technique and there are many wonderful photographs in this show. At least three sold on opening night alone. Kudos to Panopticon Gallery; I consider this a terrific opportunity to collect original artwork by students before they become famous and their work becomes pricey. For more information and directions, go to: http://www.panopticongallery.com/exhibition-gallery/nesop_2014/#timothy-bartlett-01.jpg
Featured Image: “Aidan Lying Down, 2014”, gelatin silver print by Alyssa Minahan (courtesy of the artist and Panopticon Gallery)