'Black and White' art exhibit opens at Gallery 46

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Rockville - posted Mon., Feb. 14, 2011
Windsor photographer Waynette Bailey stands by some of her 'Crash series' works. Photos by Steve Smith.
Windsor photographer Waynette Bailey stands by some of her 'Crash series' works. Photos by Steve Smith.

The latest exhibition at Gallery 46 in Vernon opened on Feb. 12, with a wide range of works from several artists, that had to adhere to only one rule – black and white are the only colors allowed.

Gallery 46's curator Melissa Tomkins Jones said the idea for an all black-and-white show came about when one of her friends suggested the idea at a previous exhibit.

“We decided to to it,” she said, “and we called it 'Black and White.' We didn't get overly creative with the title. We went to artists we knew that had work in that genre that we could display. As the word got out, [other] people approached us.”

Darlene Duncan, from Springfield, Mass, brought a series of characters she created with India ink pens.

“This was part of a clown series,” she said. “Some are different animals, and they're just silly people I invented. They usually have hearts on them, and they're happy, and people say my drawings tend to make them smile.”

Duncan's designs incorporate geometric shapes, and the character is created around that.

“When I start out in pencil, I use templates,” said Duncan, who has a graphic design background.

Larry Holland, who owns and runs a small newspaper in Vermont, brought three photos – all close-ups of flowers being held in his hands.

“It evolved from taking pictures of objects that I was holding up,” Holland said. “As I was holding them, I thought my hands were pretty interesting in there. I had been cropping them out, so I started keeping the hands in, or intentionally putting hands and fingers into the photos.”

Ashleigh Kay brought a group of six works that can be viewed on their own, or collectively, which she created during her senior year at the University of Hartford School of Art.

“What they became were kind of stream of consciousness drawings,” Kay said. “I wanted to let it flow very naturally, and they all happened very quickly. It was based around recurring shapes and patterns that happen in my paintings, which are usually very colorful and very vivid. To do it in a black and white fashion and using charcoal as the medium allowed it a bit more fluidity. They're separate entities, and they can each stand on their own, but I'm in love with them as a group.”

One of Cate Bourke's works was borne from her studies of institutionalized racism, and used shapes to illustrate ratios such as the comparative numbers of black and white people who were lynched between the Civil War period through the time of the civil rights movement.

“I approached this from the perspective of my own race, and tried to make sense of it,” Bourke said. “A quarter of the people who were lynched were white.”

Waynette Bailey's photographs appear to be either of fluidic concoctions, or strange landscapes, until one realizes what they really are.

“What I have here are very close up shots of dents and scratches that are the result of car collisions,” she said. “This series [called the Crash series] was photographed in junkyards.”

One of Bailey's photographs, which she said is her favorite, reminds her of a “snowy mountainous landscape.”

“I almost didn't print that one,” she said. “I started seeing like a little river in there, and icicles.”

Bailey said she takes all of her photos in color, and then uses Photoshop to turn them to black and white, but limits the alterations to just that.

“I don't do any Photoshop tricks,” said Bailey, who also does painting and animation. “I try to keep everything original”

Bailey added that she began with photography years ago, but then used other media, until she discovered she had a knack for the abstract closeups.

“I loved photography, and I loved the darkroom process,” she said. “But I never liked going out taking photographs. It wasn't until I found subject matter that I really appreciated that I was able to love photography again. As much as I appreciate a good landscape photo, I can't do good landscapes to save my soul. I've got to zoom in. I've got to get close. I'm into the details.”

The exhibit runs through March 5 at Gallery 46, at 46 Union Street in Rockville. For hours and information, visit www.gallery46.org.

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