Eric Bookhardt, art critic for Gambit Weekly and Inside Art New Orleans, reviews several uptown PhotoNOLA exhibitions. Links added below are ours. Please see his Inside Art New Orleans post for all of the image references.
Along the PhotoNOLA Trail, Uptown
by D. Eric Bookhardt
The 5th annual PHOTONOLA may be officially over, but most of its over 50 exhibitions continue on. The diversity is mind boggling, but many of the Uptown venues share a related theme in the form of the Southern landscape and its people. LOUISIANA AND TREES at Sibley Gallery features work in various media, but the photographs by Wanda Boudreaux, left, Joshua Pailet, Richard Sexton and Michel Varisco are thoughtful evocations of trees as the poetic inflection points of the region’s geopsychic terrain. Those images are serendipitously complemented by Natasha Sanchez’s evanescent lumen prints of local flora at the Julie Neill Gallery, while, in a very different vein, Stacy Kranitz’ photos of fighting cocks and their owners, below, at the Big Top, provide a psychically complex yet oddly engaging look at Louisiana’s once emblematic, now outlawed, blood sport.
At Cole Pratt, Leslie Addison and George Yerger’s sepia prints of old weathered buildings, top, and ghostly vistas convey the timeless elemental qualities of the region and its landscape. Yet, while the ambrotype photographs by Euphus Ruth at the Kevin Gillentine Gallery are related in theme, his uniquely woozy, wet-plate collodion images of the Mississippi Delta, below left, suggest surreal flashbacks into the psyche of the place, while hinting at what a Clarence John Laughlin-William Faulkner collaboration might have looked like. At Du Mois, Kathleen Robbins’ straight color documentary images of the Delta provide a yang counterpoint to Ruth’s yin. But when it comes to inexplicably dreamy imagery, it’s hard to top the Katrina doll x-ray photographs by Lisette de Boisblanc at Coup d’Oeil. Her aunt’s antique dolls drowned in the floodwater, but an acquaintance just happened to have an old x-ray machine that gave them a haunting new life. Striking works by Grissel Guiliano, Angela Berry, Maggie Covert and Terry DeRoche round out the show. Striking too are the SOUTHERN ISOLATION images by Eric Paul Julien, below, and Anna Hrnjak at Poet’s Gallery, Jennifer Shaw’s HURRICANE STORY at Guthrie Contemporary and Colin Miller‘s faux news photos at the Darkroom–but this only scratches the surface of PHOTONOLA’s latest imagistic tsunami. ~Bookhardt