January 22, 2012

Photo show goes way beyond conventional

'Artifacts & Particles' features the exploratory photographic work of Caleb Charland and Peter Gruner Shellenberger.

From staff reports

"Artifacts & Particles," featuring the exploratory photographic work of Caleb Charland and Peter Gruner Shellenberger, opens with a public reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Addison Woolley Gallery, 132 Washington Ave., Portland.

click image to enlarge

Photograph by Caleb Charland

Courtesy of Addison Woolley Gallery

click image to enlarge

Photograph by Peter Gruner Shellenberger

Courtesy of Addison Woolley Gallery

The show includes individual work from both artists, as well as a large collaborative installation of silver gelatin photographs.

The two met when Charland, a Bangor native, came to the Maine College of Art as an artist in residence. He and Shellenberger, a MECA faculty member since 2001, saw similarities in their instincts for breaking new ground and alternative ways of creating photographs.

Both look to unusual materials and techniques to create the content of their work. Charland places a sparkler in a metronome. As the cinders fly, he intervenes by blocking the camera's lens in rhythm to such classic tunes as "When the Levee Breaks" to create broken beats of light. Shellenberger uses uranium as his mode for exposing light-sensitive material for up to 45 days.

For their first collaboration, both artists created 8-by-10-inch silver gelatin prints in their respective studios, then swapped their initial efforts to alter however each wished. Shellenberger said in a press release that "this process of sharing ideas has delighted us both. No matter what we may do, we have been surprised by how light goes its own way. Somehow, our pushing light sets it free."

Charland and Shellenberger will discuss their work at the Addison Woolley at 2 p.m. Feb. 12.

Bruce Brown curated the exhibition, which will remain on view through Feb. 26. Winter hours are noon to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. Call 317-6721 or visit addisonwoolley.com.


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