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Juror’s Statement for Eyes of Carolina Exhibition

         My black and white photographs from my Fort Fisher series were selected to be in the Eyes of Carolina photography exhibiton. There is more about the exhibition in previous posts. Dr. Larry Wheeler, the Director of  North Carolina Museum of Art was the juror for the “Eyes of Carolina Exhibiton”. The exhibiton is on display at DOMA Gallery, 1310 South Tryon St. No106, Charlotte,NC. The photography exhibition opened June 30,2011 and will be displayed until September 3,2011. Dr. Larry Wheeler was unable to attend the opening of Eyes of Carolina but sent the owner of DOMA Gallery the statement below regarding the exhibition.

Mike Smith Photography

Dear G,

Truly do I regret not being with you this evening as I had very much looked forward to it.

Let me say that I was impressed and entertained by the many entries. As I repeatedly reviewed the images they began to establish themes and,ultimately the most powerful works spoke up.

This exhibition  is my personal taste, as it would be with any single juror.  I like to think, however, that my taste  reflects years of looking at photographs in museums, galleries, and art fairs all over the world.  It is informed, as well, by my years of working in art museums where I find that works of many media and many times inform each other and speak to each other.

Photography is an amazing contemporary medium, although folks have been taking photographs for more than 150 years.  Photo technology has revolutionized the medium in the last three decades, however.  It is no longer pure according to the purists.  Gone are the  negative and the darkroom.  Now the photo artist has many materials and devices available to make their art.  Does the integration of digital devices make the work less good?  Certainly not.  It makes it more interesting, I think, while complicating the measure of excellence.

The artist making photography today might incorporate drawing, painting, or applied elements.  We therefore measure the success of the work by how powerfully it projects as a work of art; the voice of the artist.

The five artists I selected seem to be influenced by painting as well as the history of photography itself.  In the work of Rachel Nemechek I see the influence of Rauschenberg and a bit of Picasso cubism.  Is Frank Konhaus influenced by the formal minimalism of Ellsworth Kelly, Albers, or Sean Scully?  In the elegant photographs of Eric Baden I see the influence of Georgia O’Keeffe and even the minimal stone sculpture of Richard Long. The almost mystical off-focus work recalls Bill Jacobson.  Michael Smith’s stunning landscapes remind us of the power of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, of course, but I also see Magritte.  Do you?  And the ingenious and inventive work, very beautiful, of Jeff Murphy takes me back to the fantastic world of Hieronymous Bosch, to romantic drawing and even to the genius of Anselm Kieffer.

These are NC artists.  They are damn good.  They could show in galleries anywhere in the world.  Congratulations.

Have fun,



Photos from Eyes of Carolina Exhibition opening  courtesy of DOMA Gallery. Click on picture to view larger.