Two new photography shows in the Springs and Pueblo It's September, and every artist emerges blinking from their summer torpor and gets herself or himself into a show. So rather than mourn the passing of summer (or celebrate the fact that the kids are back in school!), let's go look at art. First up, a couple of not-to-be missed photography shows.
Andrea Modica latest work at Elaine Bean's Phototroph Gallery: Titled Real Indians -- Portraits of Contemporary Native Americans and America's Tribal Colleges, it's quite a departure for Modica, who rarely undertakes commissioned fine art photography. In this case, she accepted a commission from the Kellogg Foundation to photograph 38 different Native Americans across the United States, all of whom are closely associated with tribal colleges. The end result was a book featuring Modica's photographs and the personal testimony of each of her subjects.
Given time and budget constraints, Modica could only spend a couple of hours with each of her subjects. That's not her style. Her best-known work, the Treadwell Series, consists primarily of photographs that she took of a single individual over a period of 16 years. For her, creating a powerful portrait in a few hours is like challenging Seamus Heaney to a speed-limerick contest -- it's not her mtier.
Of the 38 photographs in the series, half a dozen are relatively pedestrian. That leaves 33 that range from extraordinarily good to breathtaking. We've talked about Modica's work before in these pages, so let's not repeat ourselves, but just urge you to go see for yourselves.
In particular, don't miss the portraits of Alphonso Colegrove, Richard Wiliams, and especially Dr. Ron McNeill, the president of Sitting Bull College in North Dakota and a descendant of the legendary warrior. Modica shot him astride a Harley (right here in Colorado Springs), and captured the best of him: proud, confident, self-aware. Both books and photographs are for sale, and a large part of the proceeds of any sales will go to benefit the American Indian College Fund. The work is affordably priced, making this a unique opportunity to acquire a piece by a great artist.
Down Interstate 25 in Pueblo, the ubiquitous and multitalented Rodney Wood (who recently accepted the position of curator at CSU-Pueblo) has put together an absorbing and altogether wonderful show there titled Zoom. The exhibition features not only a few of the big guns of the region (Carol Dass, Bill Starr, even a couple of Andrea Modica's Skull Series), but also some fresh new faces. There's a lot to look at, and most of it is just fine.
Of particular note are Chris Ory's "Superman Exists and He is American," a witty, engaging, even moving piece based on 9/11, and consisting of largely appropriated images printed on a 20-foot-long fabric scroll. It's somber, disturbing and funny all at once. Ory is a young guy, presently a CSU student who is, clearly, extravagantly talented.
Heather Oelklaus, David Beightol, Steve Sonheim and Cris Pulos all have wonderful stuff on display. And look closely at Brian Doan's color chromatin prints, which re-create worlds that we scarcely see in intensely vivid, transparent color. His shot titled "Fair-Colorado Springs" is either a marvel of sophisticated, controlled mastery, or that once-in-a-lifetime lucky shot. And given Doan's body of work, we can be sure it's the former.
-- John Hazlehurst
capsule Real Indians, an exhibit and book signing
218 W. Colorado Ave. (under the bridge)
Opening Reception: Fri., Sept. 5 from 5 8 p.m.
Capps Capozzolo Center for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Colorado State University, Pueblo
2200 Bonforte Blvd.
Sat., Sept. 6, 5 7 p.m.