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Art Gallery Opening: "Darkroom Flowers"

12/20/2011
By Rick Carey
 

Photographs that explore the concept of mortality in a unique, multidimensional way will be on exhibit at the Holderness School’s Edwards Art Gallery from January 6 through March 1.

In his exhibit “Darkroom Flowers,” prize-winning photographer Adam Gooder twines together subject, process, and medium in haunting images that—in the words of Edwards curator Franz Nicolay—ride “the thin edge of super-realism and abstraction.” They also provide an almost forensic examination of the stark beauty hidden in the workings of time and death.

Gooder begins with his subjects—flowers picked at various stages of decay. “Flowers, like the prints I make of them, are organic, textured, and—when one gets close enough—unique,” says Gooder. “Dead or dying flowers are a particularly good match for the antique look of these prints, and the way the grain makes some of them seem to dissolve into the ether.”

The process is the nearly extinct procedure of Lith printing, which involves a different set of chemicals than standard darkroom printing. Lith printing takes longer and yields unpredictable results as the strength of the chemicals wanes over time. The result is that each print is one-of-a-kind.

“What you end up with in the print is not necessarily what you might expect from the negative,” says Gooder. “But it matches my vision for this work: antique-looking, unique, and somewhat magical.”
    
That antique look is abetted by the medium of the papers used by Gooder, which are extinct papers, as much as thirty years old. “Some of these prints spent as much as an hour in the developer, until it was murky and exhausted,” says Gooder. “The combination of grainy film negatives, old paper, and worn-out chemistry makes these new prints feel like antiques.”

He adds that the subtle browns, yellows, and pinks brought out by the Lith processing allows the prints themselves to “seem like they are moldering, dissolving, or decaying in some way.”

Gooder lives in Cambridge, MA, and has exhibited his work throughout the Northeast. He teaches at the New England Institute of Art and the Art Institute of Boston.

There will be an opening reception for “Darkroom Flowers” on January 6, 2012, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. Adam Gooder will be present, and will return for an informal talk at Edwards on January 20 at 4:30. The public is invited to attend both events.

The Holderness School is on Route 175 in Holderness. The Edwards and Heide Galleries are open from 9:00-5:00 Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday; from 9:00-1:00 on Wednesday and Saturday; and on Sunday by appointment.

For more information call Franz Nicolay at 779-5387. Franz is also available via e-mail at fnicolay@holderness.org.

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