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Peter's Picks of the Month

April 23 - May 18, 2008

Dancing with the Universe
Jim Hartsen

Peter Marr picks his favorite photos of the show
by the featured and guest photographers


All images copyright by the individual photographers

Jim Hartsen’s powerful abstract images abound with blazes of strong color and fantastic shapes and forms that are a great tribute to his extraordinary vision and artistic skills. The gallery walls are lit up with a whole range of striking prints that on casual observation might remind the viewer of an amoeba, an eye, a trumpet, a horse, a car, or even a human figure. This casual identification is not what the artist wants us to waste our time on. Rather than trying to find out what Jim Hartsen originally photographed, the observer is encouraged to let the eye and the mind flow from a general feeling of an image to hopefully a positive reaction to it. Although this journey may take you on a different path from what the artist saw and created, there may still be a strong connection, and hopefully, some of these images may get you to “Dance with the Universe”.

Peter A. Marr  


Photograph by Jim Hartsen


by Jim Hartsen

This outstanding print is dominated by vibrant deep red diagonal slashes against a background of deep blue hues. The whole picture makes a tremendous visual impact, and mentally and emotionally, it transports me to the seashore with a delicate surf line in the foreground. Bursting across the sea is an electrifying, red, long mystical, scaly creature, paralleled by a shower of smaller, even faster moving animals. Psychologically, the creature conjures up a powerful zipper opening in some imaginary blue piece of material, yet symbolizing opening up a neural pathway in the brain, opening up one’s imagination and thought processes. How fast and complex life is, and this dramatic print of Jim’s makes me feel totally energized, like a burst of light crossing a vast expanse of space, directing me to wake up, enjoy, and experience something new, invigorating, yet sublime. Indeed, this image, like many others in his exhibition, makes me want to Dance with the Universe.


Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet
by Sulyn Bennett-Hennessey

The delightful black-and-white images from the Eastern Monroe Career Center are a great tribute to youthful awareness and observation, and are all beautifully photographed and presented. These images are refreshing, intimate portraits of youth and youthful activities and they are recorded with feeling, spontaneity and wonderful curiosity. The image “Little Miss Muffet” that I have chosen to comment on illustrates all of these features mentioned above, capturing the happiness and gaiety of a young girl, showing off her new pink skirt and red shoes. Photographically, the “experts” might say how they love the negative white and black spaces that balance the picture so well, but this is not what this image is all about. The unusual camera angle tells you immediately that this is no-posed portrait, just a moment in time that captures all of the joyfulness and innocence of the young girl, so proud of the flowing pink and the new red shoes. How wonderful young life and innocence is, and how beautifully captured and presented is this outstanding image by a very talented photographer.

Sunshine Memories by Max Rempel

Sunshine Memories
by Max Rempel

This very artistic montage wonderfully illustrates Max’s fine images, many of which use considerable visual imagination with superb technical expertise. I was particularly attracted to this print because of an additional added feature, namely because it exhibits a considerable degree of mystery and imagination for the observer. The final image is dominated by a wooden oar, vertically and powerfully displayed in warm yellow/orange/red hues, positioned against a pastiche of cool blue/cyan background images, and interspersed by strong, yet muted images of three people. The montage is superbly done, encompassing largely a beach scene with two youthful figures, together with a mysterious third face appearing on part of the oar. There are hints of a landscape, sky, and of course sand and water, but the real power of this print is in an artistic representation of part of the lives and interest of two people, in the environment that is familiar and important to them. The addition of the mysterious third face, albeit on the most striking element in the picture, is a mystery that certainly intrigues the viewer. Although it is probably very meaningful to the young couple, the end-result is a powerful and eye catching montage, very thought-provoking, and superbly seen and presented.

Peter Marr

We are very grateful to Peter for his thorough
review and selection for Peter's Picks.

Peter was born in England in 1935 and came to live in the United States in 1968. He worked for the Eastman Kodak Company for 34 years, retiring in 1998. During his employment and continuing into retirement, he has been an enthusiastic amateur photographer. His photography has won him numerous awards throughout Kodak and in International Salons, including 5 George Eastman Medals, which is the top honor awarded to the most outstanding picture in the Annual Kodak International Salon. He has served as a judge in both local and international photographic competitions for the past 20 years, and is a Past president of the Kodak Camera Club and past chairman of many of the Kodak Camera Club organizations. In the past five years or so, he has devoted his photographic skills and interest into nature photography, notably bird photography. His bird photography has been the subject of several one-person exhibits, the most recent being at Ding Darling NWR, in Sanibel, Florida, The Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York, and at the Webster Public Library in Webster, NY.


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