Theater & art

Photography review

Danforth Art biennial showcases 55 photographers

Edie Bresler’s “We Sold a Winner (Borderline Cantina, CO).”

Danforth Art photos

Edie Bresler’s “We Sold a Winner (Borderline Cantina, CO).”

FRAMINGHAM — Danforth Art’s latest “New England Photography Biennial” features work by 55 photographers. Juror Susan Nalband, of 555 Gallery, made the selection, choosing from more than 300 New England photographers who submitted.

Part of the pleasure the show has to offer — it runs through Dec. 6 — is how far beyond the region it goes. Five of the six New England states are represented (no Vermont), but we also get to see Romania, Ecuador, Cuba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Argentina, and those most exotic of all locales, the past and the imagination.

Advertisement

Sometimes it’s a recent past, and quite local, as in Dirk Ahlgrim’s “Snow Farm 1.” Taken earlier this year, it brings back memories of last winter’s onslaught. The picture is rather overwhelmingly large, 40 inches by 73 inches (try melting that), but the way Ahlgrim uses the yellow of snow-removal equipment, the white of snow, and the gray of general winter-ness is arresting in the extreme.

Most of the photographs are color, which, as with Ahlgrim, is often used to excellent effect. The act-of-God hues that fill the sky in Edie Bresler’s “We Sold a Winner (Borderline Cantina, CO)” look as if a rainbow has exploded. The way that a woman’s carmine lipstick chimes with the ` red topping of the cake she’s holding in Elizabeth Albert’s “A Long Time Ago” is as striking as the photograph’s play of planes and relationship between past and present. The shade of salmon pink on the bungalow exterior in Walter Landry’s “Pleasure Beach” is very pleasurable indeed.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

There are numerous curatorial grace notes. Steve Genatossio’s beat-up trailer hangs next to Landry’s comparably beaten-up bungalow, which hangs next to Robert Moran’s early-model sedan. All that car needs is a hitch to be the perfect vehicle for towing that trailer. Or there’s the placement of Daniel Clapp’s three portraits of Boston street people catercorner to Michael Joseph’s three portraits of younger street people. (Clapp and Joseph are among the few photographers with more than one image in the biennial.)

Walter Landry’s “Pleasure Beach 1.”

Walter Landry’s “Pleasure Beach 1.”


Several of the photographers self-curate, as one might say. They allude to or reimagine the work of other photographers. Bob Olshansky’s “Anthony & Heather” is a two-person nude. Anthony, a plus-size male, bears more than a passing resemblance to the figure in John Coplans’s saggy, baggy self-portraits. Jim Baab’s “Jawbone Pond” shows a rock formation that looks uncannily like a nose — thus turning inside out Arno Rafael Minkkinen’s photographs of his own body to look like part of the surrounding environment. Both Mark Eshbaugh and Doug Johnson employ grids (of a Chelmsford landscape and lines created in swathes of sand, respectively), an employment that nicely triangulates with David Ricci’s also-gridded “Which Winch.” The Ricci is a twofer: the title recalling Eva Ibbotson’s enchantingly titled children’s novel, “Which Witch?,” and the subject matter being very much in the line of the most famous photographic employers of grids, Bernd and Hilla Becher.

As for Robert Avakian’s “Firefly” and Susan Richards’s “Moth (Studio Noir),” they take us to the very heart of photography. Both center on vivid splashes of light, rectangular or nearly so. They remind us that curation and color and allusion and composition and framing and cropping and the rest are nothing without illumination. If photography were a Faulkner novel, it’d be “Light in August” — and every other month, too.

Dirk Ahlgrim, "Snow Farm 1," 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Danforth Art, Framingham. 11Danforth

Dirk Ahlgrim’s “Snow Farm 1.”

Photography review

NEW ENGLAND

PHOTOGRAPHY BIENNIAL

Advertisement

At Danforth Art, 123 Union Ave., Framingham, through Dec. 6,

508-620-0050, www.danforthart.org

Mark Feeney can be reached at mfeeney@globe.com.
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com