On the Periphery

On The Periphery,” at the Edgewood Gallery, mixes photos, art glass and jewelry, as it moves from city streets to cars made before 1960, from forms stressing color and harmony to hand-painted miniatures. The exhibition encompasses diverse artistic approaches.

Heidi Vantassel, for example, creates grainy, black-and-white images playing off reflections from store windows and tinkering with reality. “In Beach Daze,” for example, a man walks down the street but appears as a shadowy figure. Clouds swirl about, a beachfront comes into view, and sunglasses come from nowhere. This photo isn’t digitally manipulated; it springs from the artist’s take on an everyday scene.

The largest of her images offers a panoramic view of a mannequin, shop window, the sky, palm trees, a passer-by, and the sea. Once again, this isn’t documentary photography. By interpreting reflections, Vantassel places the scene into a different visual context, one’s she created.

The photos on display at Edgewood nicely explore the scope of her work. One photo emphasizes a small skeleton figure seen in a shop window. Another portrays many hats, a ladder and a figure holding a camera: that’s Vantassel herself.

Taken as a group, the photos depict a variety of street scenes: outside the Manlius Cinema, by Boom Babies on Westcott Street, in a city where palm trees flourish. And they demonstrate a talent for spur-of-the-moment photography. Light and shadows change, and reflections fade away. Yet, the photographer is able to create innovative images providing a sense of illusion.

Stephanie Parks, meanwhile, has only color images on display, all taken during a 2015 trip to Cuba. In that country, older American autos, manufactured before 1960, are still on the road, in active use. That’s because of conflict between the governments of Cuba and the United States and an ongoing trade embargo.

And so, Parks’ lens captures an Oldsmobile, Chevy Bel Air, and other vehicles on Cuba streets. On one level, she’s documenting a societal phenomenon; it’s estimated that over 60,000 of the American cars still are driven in Cuba. On another level, it’s obvious Parks was interested in presenting non-repetitive photos.

And so she took “In the Fast Lane,” which depicts a car on a roadway, and “Rainy Day: Weatherman’s Dream,” with its portrayal of rain falling down. A third image, “Las Pisadas,” depicts footprints on a garage floor. In other photos, Parks has shot cars from various angles, influencing viewers to take a longer look at the images.

A third artist, R. Jason Howard, has displayed his blown-glass forms in previous exhibitions at Edgewood. In the current show, he scores with pieces like “Horns of Dilemma,” in which glass objects, each with a circular mouth, are mounted on stone.

As it happens, most of the works come from a different series,” Soul Cages: An Exploration of change, time, and process.” In one piece, six objects appear on stone, and there’s a medley of red, green and blue color. In another, blue and grey colors dominate. All the works express a sense of celebration, feelings of warmth arising from harmony, rich color, and capturing light.

The works presented in the current exhibit represent a small sampling of Howard’s creative output. He’s created numerous glassworks, including prayer bowls. Beyond that, his pieces are found in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Cafesjian Center for Arts In Yereva, Armenia, and the Kobe Lampworking Museum in Kobe, Japan.

Finally, Eva Hunter is a local artist best known for her paintings; she’s taken part in shows at the Tech Garden Gallery and other venues. The Edgewood exhibit offers a change of pace, presenting cuff links, earrings, and other items of jewelry made by the artist. Most come from Hunter’s “Swirling Stones” series.

The exhibition is on display through February 21, 2020 at the Edgewood Gallery, 216 Tecumseh Rd. It’s open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and on Saturdays from ten a.m. to two p.m. For more information, go to edgewoodartandframe.com.  


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