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photo-eye Gallery Staff 2019 Favorites

photo-eye Gallery photo-eye Gallery Staff 2019 Favorites 2019 was an excellent year for photography at photo-eye Gallery. In the spirit of sending out the old year and welcoming in the new, photo-eye Gallery staff has taken on the difficult task of picking out some photographic highlights of 2019. Each staff member has chosen a favorite work exhibited in the gallery, and a favorite photograph by a represented artist released this past year.

From left to right, Images by Beth Moon, Julie Blackmon, and Chris Colville
2019 was an excellent year for photography at photo-eye Gallery. In the spirit of sending out the old year and welcoming in the new, photo-eye Gallery staff has taken on the difficult task of picking out some photographic highlights of 2019. Each staff member has chosen a favorite work exhibited in the gallery, and a favorite photograph by a represented artist released this past year. Read more about our selections below.

Happy New Year from photo-eye Gallery!

Anne Kelly 

Gallery Director

I love images that create a sense of wonder and make me look at the world differently. Nature has also always been a source of fascination. At this point in history, we have a decent understanding of the natural world, from the cosmos to tiny plants and flowers, but there are still so many elements left unproven or that we can’t comprehend. As we approach 2020 we have a wealth of information and images at our fingertips – we are saturated in it, so if one single image can make me pause, I find that joyful. Though I had so very many favorite images from 2019, two that stand out to me are Reuben Wu’s XT1876 and Beth Moon’s Nepenthes Bicalcarata

XT1876 by Reuben Wu

Reuben Wu, XT1876, Archival Pigment Print, 15x20 inches, Edition of 10, $1,250
Wu landscapes bring something new and fresh to the genre of landscape photography, a genre with a lot of history. By creating images that let us experience the landscape in a different way, visually freezing space and time, it is a refreshing reminder of just how much we probably don’t know. In XT1876, Wu uses light to paint almost a perfect circle on the horizon and seems to be projecting light forward. The perfect circle calls attention to the everchanging, imperfect but lovely shapes that have been temporally painted in the salt flats by the water and wind.  This image feels simultaneously primordial and post-apocalyptic.

Nepenthes Bicalcarata by Beth Moon

Beth Moon, Nepenthes Bicalcarata, Platinum/Palladium Print, 7.5x5 inches, Edition of 9, $900
Beth Moon’s Nepenthes Bicalcarata is a close-up portrait of a carnivores plant. What originally caught my attention about this image is simply the pleasing form of this plant – a bit like a music note. The print itself is an exquisite handmade platinum print and is somewhat reminiscent of the photogravures by professor Karl Blossfeldt, of close-up studies of plants made in the late ’20s. Moon recently explained to me that scientists believe that Bicalcarata has evolved to have fangs to protect nutrients that the plant has captured, yet they are not entirely sure.

Lucas Shaffer

Special Projects & Client Relations

I’ve always been a fan of artists who use materials in unique ways and push the boundaries of the photographic process to create compelling contemporary images. In 2019, photo-eye Gallery featured a number of artists making exciting non-traditional work, from Reuben Wu’s ethereal drone-lit landscapes to Diane Bloomfield’s tricolor gum bichromate still-lifes, but I keep coming back to Colleen Fitzgerald’s Land & Sea II and Christopher Colville’s Citizen 13 for their impact and complexity.

Land & Sea II by Colleen Fitzgerald

Colleen Fitzgerald, Land & Sea II, Archival Pigment Print, 20x24 inches, Edition of 5, $1,200
Fitzgerald’s Land & Sea II is a fascinating dialogue between the artist and the viewer wrapped in a delightful package. Reductively, Fitzgerald is saying “look what I can do” to the viewer, prompting a conversation about photography’s detailed and inherently convincing nature and the artist’s ability to manipulate an image. Gently curling the sheet film prior to exposure in a custom-built film holder leads the resulting image warped, creased, stained, and unexposed in areas. The technical imperfections and physical alterations are fully on display in the final print seeming to acknowledge that the truth of an image is shared between the artist’s intentions and the viewer’s experience. The end result is sleek, geometric, and elegant. Land & Sea II is delightfully simple on the surface but has depth if you want to dive in.

Citizen 13 by Christopher Colville

Christopher Colville, Citizen 13, Unique Silver Gelatin Print, 32x25 inches, $7,650
I feel like Christopher Colville’s Citizen 13 is a master class in fitting form to function. Using his explosive gun-powder based technique, Colville exposes human-shaped targets found in abandoned shooting ranges to traditional light-sensitive photographic paper to build a commentary on gun violence in American society. The resulting image is powerful. It’s haunting, energetic, and visceral imagery is created from a perfect combination of materials, skilled craftsmanship, and a vulnerability to investigate a divisive topic that can be deeply personal. Citizen 13 is from Colville’s Beyond Reckoning series, which made it’s photo-eye debut this October, and in my opinion, is some of Colville’s best and most complex work to date.

Alexandra Jo

Gallery Assistant

Meditation on the Northern Hemisphere 8 by Christopher Colville

Christopher Colville, Meditation on the Northern Hemisphere 8, Unique Silver Gelatin Print, 2x24 inches, $4,300

Christopher Colville’s work has a dark magnetism that is able to wholly pull me into the abstract, violent beauty of his images. Between the bursts of gunpowder marks flung across his compositions, and the fluid, undulating evocations of smoke, landscape, and sky created by his unique process, his work has the capacity to transport viewers into worlds of ethereal meditations centered on beauty and darkness.

Meditation on the Northern Hemisphere 8 is one of Colville’s least flashy images and took its time climbing to the top of my list of favorite works. This image’s monochromatic grey-black visual field, which seems quite flat at first glance, is actually rippling with atmospheric depth and texture.  Like the rest of Colville’s works in the Northern Hemisphere series, the primary aspect of the composition is a punctured, circular shape, the patterns of which reflect the mapped constellations of the northern hemisphere’s night sky at the time the work was created. The resulting image references lunar bodies, the cratered face of a distant planet, and the deep charcoal grey seems to pulse and wave like an ocean, or clusters of particles in deep space.

For me, the clincher of this particular work is the presence of delicate fingerprints in the corners of the picture plane, left behind by Colville during the work’s creation. The inclusion of these intimate details along the edges of the final piece act as a connection to Colville’s photographic process. He creates his work in the dark of the desert at night, transporting chemicals, developers, paper, and gunpowder into secluded areas of land far away from artificial light. With this image in particular, its map of the stars, and the indexical traces of the artist’s hand, I feel like I’ve been given a glimpse back in time, into the moment of the image's creation.

Ezra by Julie Blackmon

Julie Blackmon, Ezra, Archival Pigment Print, 31x26 inches, Edition of 10, $4,000

Julie Blackmon’s ability to subtly braid mystery and narrative into an image is masterful. In her photograph titled Ezra, released earlier this year, that ability takes the forefront. The photograph features a young girl with fabulous hair and an unprecedented aura of maturity surrounded by various Polaroids and little clues (like a parrot perched on top of a door, sparse furniture, a spilled jar of birdseed) that weave a sense of cryptic wonder into the scene.

In this specific image, Blackmon’s choice of a bright color palate allows the image to straddle both sides of believable and fantastical while pointing to the auteur aesthetic sensibilities of someone like Wes Anderson. This image, like so many others in Blackmon’s repertoire, creates an entire world out of things from real, ordinary life with this unifying aesthetic power. The way her images are so carefully balanced, believable yet surreal, straightforward and enigmatic, makes me want to revisit each of them again and again.

Ezra also specifically speaks to me with the precise expression on the girl’s face… so youthful, yet full of anomalous knowing. I keep returning to this colorful room with the Polaroids and the birdseed, and the girl who is wise beyond her years, searching for the answer to the mystery Blackmon has created.

All prices listed were current at the time this post was published.

For more information, and to purchase artworks, please contact photo-eye Gallery Staff at:
(505) 988-5152 x 202 or

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