ARTIST:......GREG VERSEN + CAROL TURRENTINE + SUSAN HARB
EXHIBIT TITLE: ......Castles, Ruins, Fragments
MEDIA: ......Photography + Junk sculpture
DATE: ......Fri 01 Apr 2011 - Fri 24 Jne 2011
CURATOR/ART JUDGE: ......Mia LaBerge & Terry Ward
GALLERY MANAGER/ART HANGER: ......Terry Ward
"One taste is pleasure enough; thoughtful pairings --even better" --printed on a wine-tasting menu. The exhibit pairs Greg Versen's 1400-year survey of architecture from skyscrapers to Meso-American ruins with Carol Turrentine's photo-exploration of deteriorating mental asylum buildings ---plus sculptural rustscapes by Susan Harb. Some Versen photos are hung in potentially-ironic groups --like when the shining skyscraper windows of Saks Fifth Avenue are beside the moldering dress dummy in the dark store window of a ghost town's dress shop ruin. The dress dummy, in turn, relates to the next photo's caryatid goddesses holding up a neoclassical portico. In another artful pairing, sleek postmodern curves of a facade designed by millionaire celebrity architect Frank Gehry are next to an equally bold but strictly functionalist curving covered elevated walkway connecting New England 19th century factory buildings. Visitors can ponder the various art pieces individually or in relation to each other.
"The photographs in this exhibit explore architecture that spans approximately 1400 years and includes images taken in Mexico, Germany, and the United States. I have tried to capture architecture in part and in whole; some straight forward, others the beauty of the abstract. I have long admired architecture both for its art and function. I believe it represents mankind’s best efforts to express the beauty that forms in the creative mind while at the same time providing a building, a space, a structure for specific functions, be they humble, magnificent, secular or sacred." Greg Versen is an award-winning photographer active for more than 40 years. He has attended workshops at the Maine Photographic Workshop, Rockport, and the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, Missoula, Montana. He does most of his own printing and framing. Versen (AKA "Professor Blues") taught in the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Mississippi University for Women, Columbus for five and a half years before moving to the BSW program at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He retired from JMU as a professor emeritus after 25 years and continues to live in Harrisonburg.
"This series of 12 b/w photographs depicts the historic De Jarnette Hospital and Western State campus located in Staunton, VA. Once thriving mental institutions with illustrious pasts, the buildings I photographed are now vacant and decaying. There remains a haunting, disturbing, and yet poignant beauty in these empty architectural spaces." Turrentine is a past NEA grant-awardee. Her creations have appeared at Duke Museum of Art (NC), East Tennessee State Museum(TN), King Museum(CT), and others. Her images also appeared in "Reader’s Digest", "Southern Living", "Home" and "Country Living".
"Susan Harb worked as a newspaper journalist for 15 years, covering the arts and interviewing artists for papers up and down the East Coast. She left journalism and opened an international folk art gallery and began traveling to Developing Countries to spend time with self-taught artists and buy their work. 'I was drawn to works by untrained artists who look around their often modest--if not meager--surroundings and produce something joyous,' said Harb. 'The homemade altars of Guatemala, the carvings of Bali, the bottle trees of Kenya, the hand-carved farm tools of Turkey spoke loudly to me. Naive artists have a gift for color, balance, suggestion, sincerity that is compelling and refreshing. Working with what others discard has great personal appeal. I think rust is a beautiful color; a section of barn siding has senusal texture. If I have a talent is that I look at things--tree stumps, wrecked car fenders, broken mirrors--and they look back. I see things.'"