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Currently on Display - PART ONE

Currently on display at photo-eye Gallery is a group exhibit including works by 17 photo-eye Gallery artists! In the upcoming weeks on the photo-eye Blog we will feature a series showcasing a few of the photographers in this exhibition. These artist features will include the images that have been selected for this exhibit as well as the artists' thoughts and inspirations behind the individual image or images.

The featured images this week are Atomic Tea Party, by Jo Whaley from her Natura Morta series and The Organ Factory, by David Trautrimas from his Industrial Parkland series.

Jo Whaley

Atomic Tea Party from Jo Whaley's Natura Morta series
"In the photograph Atomic Tea Party, a tarnished silver tea set is accompanied by acid-green sugar cubes and a bomb-like samovar is illuminated by an ominous light that signals a most indecorous disturbance. This image emerged as a subconscious visualization of an experience steeped in the past.

As a child in the 1950s I wandered in an atmosphere electrified with incongruities. A neighbor’s backyard bomb shelter doubled as a playhouse where children created imaginary realities. When the sprinkler system sprayed water over the verdant, but overly fertilized lawn, the shelter below would leak, ruining our play. It lead me to wonder…what was the point...there is no place to hide.

And so it is today. We live with the background of nuclear war, but readily forget it as the foreground of our everyday lives dominate our thoughts, and we are rightfully seduced by the beauty of this world. The times are still charged with incongruities: disturbing, yet wonderful all the same. Savor the tea."

–Jo Whaley

The photographs from the Natura Morta series draw their concepts from the rich tradition of European still life painting. Just as the 17th century painters used the "vanitas " still lifes as metaphors for the transitory nature of human life, these photographs also provide cautionary tales. Historically, a perfect display of the earth's bounty was celebrated through paint. These photographic still lifes echo those compositions, but may feature fruit that is half-eaten and abandoned to mold or roses dusted with soot. Quirky elements and unsettling juxtapositions of the natural with the artificial reflect the ironic tensions that exist between urban culture and the natural environment. Natura Morta means still life in Italian, but significantly the literal translation is dead nature.

See more images from Whaley's Natura Morta series here.

David Trautrimas

The Organ Factory from David Trautrimas' Industrial Parkland series
"The Organ Factory was made out of a vintage electronic organ I picked up from a neighborhood thrift store. At the time of purchase my ambition was to actually learn how to play it, but after it spent many months sitting unused in my basement I thought the better of it, and decided to break it apart and do something useful with it. I can't place the exact inspiration for the architectural form, but I'm sure it was in some way inspired by the hazy recollections of the giant pipe organ from the church I occasioned as kid."

–David Trautrimas

At first glance Trautrimas' Industrial Parkland images may manifest as characteristic industrial landscapes, but their latent concept is the execution of a meticulous process of reverse engineering. Deliberately chosen consumer items are fastidiously dismantled, photographed and cataloged to create an architectural library from which a factory and its is surroundings are virtually "built." A power drill literally becomes a Power Drill factory, a stapler becomes a Stapler Factory, with each object used to construct its own source of origin. The obsolete aesthetics of the source material (as perceived through a generational nostalgia) precepts a landscape on the declining edge of progress, in which both the manufacturer and the manufactured are eminently disposable.

See more images from Trautrimas' Industrial Parkland series here.

Please contact me if you would like additional information or would like to receive updates about Jo Whaley or David Trautrimas.

Anne Kelly, Associate Director photo-eye Gallery

*Next weeks featured artists will be Tom Chambers and Laurie Tümer.