Galleries : Pushing the envelope
Wrapping up their first season as the new owners of Dragonfly Gallery, Don McKillop and Susan Davy decided to go out with a wallop. They rounded up dramatic and eclectic work of 14 acclaimed photographers from the Vineyard and far beyond in their Fall Invitational Photography Show, "Captured!" From the award-winning internationally recognized work of New York City-based Frank Stewart to the Island's own extraordinary eye of Sam Low, Dragonfly Gallery will showcase photographs featuring a unique mixture of subject matter, styles, and technique until closing day, Monday, Oct. 12.
The show opened September 29; a reception is slated for Saturday, Oct. 10, from 5 to 7 pm.
Located in the Arts District of Oak Bluffs at 91 Dukes County Ave., Dragonfly was owned by Holly Alaimo for 14 years before it changed hands in April 2009. According to Mr. McKillop it has been an exciting and successful transition. "We're working hard to accomplish what Holly hoped we would - to continue her tradition of bringing really good work to the Island and to take it to the next level," he says.
To that end, Mr. McKillop and his wife, Ms. Davy, decided to juggle the schedule and shift the annual photography show from the spring to the fall. "We're hoping that we'll attract a larger audience this time of year," he says. Other changes on the drawing board: a new logo and website, the possibility of shows that hang for longer blocks of time, and the continuation of a new concept they initiated this summer: intimate Friday night openings for serious collectors.
Mr. McKillop describes their first season as "extremely successful," saying that he and his wife enjoyed an exceptional July and August and have high hopes for next summer.
"Captured!" features photographers from the U.S., Japan, and Germany who were invited to "push the envelope," according to Mr. McKillop. He says he hopes that their work will "shake things up a little here."
With locales ranging from Cuba to Africa and subjects from jazz musicians to abstracts, the work reflects a complete array of contemporary photographic styles and techniques, including that of Frank Stewart, an award-winning photographer whose work has been shown at the Corcoran Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the International Center of Photography. Mr. Stewart was among the first group of North American journalists to be invited to visit Cuba, in 1977. His portfolio includes those images as well as others from Africa, Japan, Spain, and across the U.S., including his work as senior staff photographer for jazz at Lincoln Center.
Mr. Stewart's photos will hang alongside those of his former intern at Lincoln Center, Ayano Hiso of Japan, a recent M.F.A. graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design. Ms. Hiso's work is comprised of black-and-white images of musicians and landscapes, portraiture, digital color images of musicians and dancers, and street photography.
Inspired by CD jackets as a teenager, Ms. Hiso strives to capture the rhythm of any scene she witnesses. "Even the images that are not directly related to music somehow let you hear the sound of sea, seagulls, wind, etc," she says. "When I photograph anything I follow my own rhythm."
Sam Low has been shooting photographs since he was 10 years old and relied on the medium extensively in his work as an archeologist, anthropologist, filmmaker, and writer. Today he wields his digital camera as both photojournalist and fine art photographer, striving to combine technical merit with a layering of themes. "A good photograph should express not only what is there but how what is there makes the photographer feel about it," he explains. Mr. Low grew up summering on the Island nearly every year since his birth in 1942. "Captured!" will include a variety of Mr. Low's Vineyard images, both abstract and representational.
Connecticut-based photographer Alan Muney spends summers on the Vineyard and lends his images of the Island, and of Venice Beach and Seal Beach, Calif., to the show. An avid photographer since childhood, Mr. Muney put down the camera to practice medicine, but retrieved his love for the medium about 12 years ago. His work is "about capturing the art in ordinary life," he says.
Peter Dreyer, another summer Vineyard resident, relies on large-format black and white photography and a traditional darkroom to achieve the special effects in his work. A professional photographer for 35 years, he enjoys the challenge of achieving unique results while eschewing the ease of PhotoShop. "I'm interested in patterns derived from Island subject matter," he says. "In a traditional darkroom you soon bump up against the limitations of the medium when you try to achieve certain types of images. You have to invent ways to overcome those limitations."
It was just 170 years ago that Henry Fox Talbot and Louis Daguerre announced their inventions of the photographic process. Appearing at the Dragonfly Gallery through Columbus Day, "Captured!" shows us how varied the expressions of this relatively young medium can be.
"Captured!", Tuesday, Sept. 29-Monday, Oct. 12. Reception, Saturday, Oct. 10, 5-7 pm, Dragonfly Gallery, Oak Bluffs. Photographers included: Tim Coy, Susan Davy, Peter Dreyer, Joann Frecehette, Scott Garner, Ginny Gosselin, Ayano Hiso, Horst Josch, Sam Low, Lanny McDowell, Tess Miller, Alan Muney, Frank Stewart, Paulette Wexler.508-693-8877; mvdragonfly.com.
Karla Araujo is a freelance writer and regular contributor to The Times.